Nov 07, 2023

From Panel to Power: Solar Installation System Guide


Solar installation system presents a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution to energy needs for residential, commercial, and industrial projects. This article delves into various aspects, including components of a solar installation system, major considerations before embarking on the installation process, a detailed step-by-step guide on how to install solar system, and essential tips for the maintenance and upkeep of your solar energy system. Let's get started!

Solar Installation System Guide

Components of a Solar Installation System

There are the main components of a solar photovoltaic system installation:

Solar Panels

Solar panels (photovoltaic modules) are the heart of any solar system installation. These panels convert sunlight directly into electricity and are typically made up of a series of interconnected silicon cells. The quality, type (monocrystalline, polycrystalline or thin film), and efficiency of the solar panels can significantly impact the amount of energy produced. The selection should be done carefully depending on your energy needs, budget, space availability, and local climate conditions.


Inverters play a major role in any solar power system installation. It transforms the direct current (DC) energy produced by the PV solar panels into alternate current (AC) energy, which is used in most household appliances and power outlets. There are 3 main types of inverters: string inverters, micro-inverters, and power optimizers, each varying in the method of conversion, efficiency, cost, and ability to identify individual panel performance.

Mounting Systems

Mounting systems are essential for positioning solar energy system installation. They ensure the optimal angle and orientation of the panels towards the sun, providing stability and support. They can be fixed or adjustable, roof-mounted, ground-mounted or pole-mounted. The choice depends on many site-specific factors like roof condition, available space, geographic location, and local regulations.

Battery Storage (if applicable)

Battery storage is an optional yet important component of a solar PV system installation, especially for off-grid setups or for increased energy independence. The battery stores excess energy produced during sunny periods, for use during the night or during peak utility rates. The lifespan, capacity and charging speed of the battery affect the overall performance and are key elements to consider when selecting a solar battery.

Charge Controllers (for off-grid systems)

A charge controller is a critical component for off-grid PV solar system installation. It regulates the voltage and energy current coming from the PV solar panels, going to the battery. As such, it prevents overcharging, which could cause damage to the battery. There are two types of controllers, the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) controllers and the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) controllers. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and should be chosen based on system size, cost, and energy requirements.

Considerations Before Installing a Solar Power System

Before installing a solar power system, it is important to take note of the following considerations:

Evaluation of Energy Needs

The first key consideration before installing a solar power system is evaluating your energy needs. An accurate assessment of your home or office's energy consumption helps to choose the correct solar system size. Analyzing your utility bill over the past 12 months can give you an estimate of your annual power consumption. This will help in determining how many solar panels you require to cover this energy demand.

Site Assessment and Panel Orientation

Conducting a site assessment is an essential step in the solar installation process. It involves evaluating the installation location for feasibility and efficiency of solar energy generation. The orientation and tilt of solar panels significantly affect their output. In the Northern Hemisphere, solar panels should ideally face south, while they should face north in the Southern Hemisphere. In South Africa, as in the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, the optimal orientation for solar panels is north-facing. This maximizes exposure to sunlight as the sun tracks across the northern sky. The site's shading and climate patterns also impact the efficiency of your solar system.

Budget and Financing Options

Solar panels can be a big investment. Thus, understanding your budget and exploring financing options is crucial. While the upfront costs can be high, various financing options and solar loans can make the transition more affordable. You can also explore incentives and tax credits offered by the government to mitigate costs.

Local Regulations and Permitting

The process and requirements to install solar panels vary greatly depending on your local regulations. You may need specific permits and approvals from your local government or homeowners association. In South Africa, installing solar panels requires navigating a series of regulatory steps including obtaining permits from local municipalities, ensuring compliance with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), especially for grid-tied systems, adhering to South African National Standards (SANS) for electrical installations, and securing a Certificate of Compliance (CoC). Additionally, you may need the Homeowners' Association (HOA) for approval and to understand feed-in tariffs for excess energy. Utilizing a professional installer familiar with local regulations can streamline this multi-step compliance and installation process.

Steps in Installing a Solar System

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to properly install a solar system:

1. Set Up Scaffolding: To ensure a safe installation, erecting scaffolding for installers as they work on the roof is essential. This is a preliminary step to prepare the area for installation.

2. Install Solar Panel Mounts: This stage involves installing the base that will support the solar panels. The mounting structure should be set at an appropriate tilt, usually between 18 to 36 degrees, to achieve maximum solar exposure.

3. Install the PV Solar Panels: Once the mounts are secure, the solar panels can be installed atop the mounting structure. Bolts and nuts should be scrupulously tightened ensuring the overall installation remains stable.

4. Wire the Solar Panels: This involves the installation of electrical wiring. Specialized MC4 connectors are often used, compatible with various types of solar-panels. Ensure the household's electricity supply is shut off during this stage.

5. Install Solar Inverter: Following this, a solar inverter, a device that converts the generated DC electricity into AC, should be installed. You can place the inverter indoors or outdoors but remember, inverters work best in cooler conditions.

6. Bond Solar Inverter and Solar Battery: The next step involves connecting the PV solar inverter and the solar battery. A well-connected solar battery storage can maintain a steady supply of electricity even on cloudy days.

7. Attach the Inverter to the Consumer Unit: After the battery is connected, the inverter must be connected to the consumer unit for electricity generation to begin. Setting up a generation meter at this point can help track how much energy the solar panels produce.

8. Start and Test Solar Panels: The last step in the PV solar panel installation process is to turn on the system and test the panels to ensure they're functioning effectively.

Solar Installation System Guide

Maintenance and Upkeep of a Solar Installation System

Although solar panels require very minimal maintenance due to the absence of moving parts, some care is necessary to maintain system performance.

1. Regular Inspection: Carry out periodic inspections for dirt or other objects that could have piled up on the panels, potentially obstructing sunlight absorption.

2. Cleaning the Panels: Use of a normal garden hose to wash the panels is usually sufficient. Do this during cooler parts of the day to avoid temperature shock which can damage the panels. In the case of more stubborn dirt, a sponge with soapy water can be used.

3. Professional Inspection: Have your solar system examined by a professional installer every 4-6 years. This will help highlight any issues and maintain the effectiveness of your solar installation.

4. Follow Warranty Requirements: It's important to consult with your installer about what is stipulated in the warranty regarding panel cleaning and maintenance, thus ensuring you do not unknowingly void your warranty.


Taking the utmost benefit from solar energy necessitates a thorough understanding, deliberate preparation, careful installation, and consistent maintenance of the solar installation system. With FusionSolar, you're investing in a future where economic efficiency and environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive but are enhanced through advanced solar technology tailored for optimal energy utilization and a commitment to powering a greener tomorrow.


Here are some commonly asked questions about solar installation system.

Is 10 kW Enough to Run a House?

On average, a 10 kW solar panel system can produce roughly 40-50 kWh of electricity per day, potentially meeting the daily energy demands of an average household. However, factors such as geographical location, weather conditions, and individual energy consumption patterns may affect whether a 10 kW system is adequate.

How Much Does the Average Solar Panel Cost in South Africa?

In South Africa, the cost of an average solar panel ranges between R1800 for a 360W panel and R4200 for a 550W panel. The price for a typical 3kW solar panel system can vary from R45,000 to R70,000, while a 5kW system can cost between R70,000 and R110,000. These costs also depend on factors such as brand, size, type, and installation expenses.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last in South Africa?

In South Africa, solar panels have a long lifespan, typically lasting around 20 to 30 years. This longevity, however, is contingent on maintaining the system in good condition. When maintained correctly, solar panels can continue operating effectively for many years without notable issues. Therefore, regular checks and maintenance are essential for optimal solar system performance and longevity.