South Africa
Solar Power image

Standard Bank Solar Power

In 2022, South Africans lived through more than 2881 hours of power outages, which equates to a staggering 120 days, or about four months of no power. So far, 2023 has been even worse, with more loadshedding on the schedule. 

To underline the severity of the situation, President Ramaphosa took the extraordinary step of declaring a national state of disaster in February due to the country’s energy crisis. Although the state of disaster ended on 5 April, it has become a matter of urgency to consider investing in alternative power solutions. Given that solar panel tax incentives were announced as part of the 2023 Budget Review, there’s no better time to harness the benefits of solar power as a cost-effective, clean, and sustainable energy source.

But what does choosing solar actually involve and, most pertinently for these difficult financial times, how much does it cost? And why is it a particularly attractive option for South Africans? 

Standard Bank’s head of digital and eCommerce, Andrew van der Hoven, explains: “Sunny South Africa gets more than 2500 hours of sunshine a year and it ranks among the top three countries in the world in average direct solar radiation. Furthermore, as an infinite resource, solar power doesn’t just offer a way to keep the lights on, it also helps the environment by greatly reducing carbon emissions.”

Solar power uses a mixture of solar panels, inverters, batteries, and a battery charge controller to access, store, and use solar radiation to power your home and office. 

It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, though, as there are three basic types of solar power systems to choose from:

  • Grid-tied systems connect to the municipal utility grid and include solar panels and an inverter, but not a battery backup. This set-up provides power while the sun is shining and offsets standard electricity usage during those times, but it doesn’t work at night or in very cloudy weather.  
  • Backup or hybrid systems consist of solar panels, an inverter, and battery storage for backup power in case of outages. Your home remains connected to the municipal grid, but your reliance on the grid will be reduced, as will your electricity bill, as the battery stores power during “on periods” for use at night or to keep the power on during power cuts. 
  • Off-grid systems offer complete self-reliance and independence from Eskom’s power grid but provide no safety net during times of bad weather or long periods without direct sunlight, and they can be very expensive.

Ultimately, off-grid systems are often too expensive and impractical for most homes and businesses, and grid-tied systems offer too limited a solution for the costs involved, so your best bet is usually a backup or hybrid system. 

Solar solutions, in general, have become more affordable in recent years, and although initial set-up costs can be high, it can save you thousands over the long term. Prices will vary, depending on the technology, the size of the system, and your energy requirements, but on average, a system can range between R70 000 and R300 000 for a complete solar and backup package. 
Depending on your needs and budget, you can start with a battery backup solution, then add solar panels at a later stage. Once your solar PV installation is up and running, apart from minimal maintenance expenses, there are no monthly energy costs for the kilowatts produced through solar.  Even if you start small and you’ll save thousands of rands in the long run, that initial installation can be very intimidating, both in terms of cost and knowing exactly which solar options suit you best. 

In light of this and as part of its commitment to accelerating the adoption of renewable energy solutions in Africa, Standard Bank has developed, an innovative home efficiency platform that is designed to help you choose the most appropriate backup power and solar solutions for your needs. 

“We’ve recently seen the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud issuing warnings based on the number of complaints received about sub-standard solar components, unqualified installers, and inadequate installations. This is obviously a concern, so we are focused on empowering customers with valuable property insights and information, and access to specialist solar services and providers,” adds van der Hoven. 

LookSee’s panel of solar providers have gone through Standard Bank’s stringent vetting process to ensure that the technology and service offerings meet the appropriate standards for ongoing and reliable solar power.

Benefits of using LookSee include:

  • An expert needs analysis to determine the best solution for your needs.
  • Exceptional quality products and experienced solar installers to help you save money and improve your home efficiency.
  • The ongoing support and expertise of the LookSee Solar Concierge Team.

Standard Bank also offers tailored financial solutions with competitive pricing and a range of flexible repayment options. 
To find out more and to complete your free home power analysis, visit

The information set out in this document is general in nature and is not intended as advice. The views and opinions expressed in this document are for information purposes only and Standard Bank makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information, or whether it meets your needs, and such information is subject to change without notice. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice before any commitment is made.