First published on MyPR

South Africa is a land blessed with abundant sunshine, not too much rain, and lots of cooling sea breezes. It’s an ideal climate in which to utilise Solar Power to power our grid. 

There are a number of factors that contribute to a good return on investment (ROI) on a Solar Power Plant. Chat to Straton Solar for a comprehensive list of all the industry insider tips they have gained over more than 15 years of installing solar power plants.

Key to Good Solar Power Installations

The key to a good Solar Power installation is based on a few simple requirements:

  • Maximum sunlight hours
  • North-facing panels with NO shadow
  • Perfect declination that is equal to the latitude the installation is on
  • Fresh solar panels from the same batch. These should be in a string of solar panels on a single MPPT the power generation that is governed by the ‘weakest link’ – i.e the panel generating the lowest power. There are inverters that get around this – speak to Straton Solar for this solution.
  • Grid tie only. Hybrid and off-grid systems use solar power to charge the batteries.
  • Short cable runs. Direct current (DC) is notorious for losses over long cable runs.
  • Some wind to keep the panels cool. Ideally solar panel environmental temperature should range between 15°C and 35°C during which solar cells will produce at maximum efficiency. Our famous Gqeberha wind does a sterling job in keeping solar panels as close to ideal temperature as possible.

In South Africa the peak sunshine hours vary from 5.05 hours to 5.33 hours per day, depending on which province:

  • Northern Cape: 5.7 – 6.3
  • North West: 5.5 – 6.1
  • Western Cape: 4.7 – 6.0
  • Free State: 5.3 – 5.7
  • Eastern Cape: 4.3 – 5.6
  • Gauteng: 5.3 – 5.5
  • Mpumalanga: 4.7 – 5.5
  • Kwazulu-Natal: 4.3 – 5.3
  • Limpopo: 4.7 – 5.3

Consequently, the entire South Africa has great potential for solar power implementation. South Africa sees, on average, between 1543 and 2264 kWh/m2 a year. Note that having at least four hours of peak sunlight is best for solar panels. 

A study has indicated that a solar generating facility covering just 0.3% of the area comprising North Africa could supply all of the energy required by the European Union.

South Africa is one of the best places in the entire world to develop solar energy.

South Africa is considered a relatively dry country, with annual rainfall averaging only 464mm in comparison to the world average of 806mm. Less rain means more chance for peak sun hours, resulting in more power generated from solar PV.

In terms of Solar Power Generation South Africa (in 2020) was 22nd on this list:

  • China (6.2% of total consumption)
  • European Union
  • United States
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • Vietnam
  • Spain
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • Brazil
  • Ukraine
  • Turkey
  • Taiwan
  • Mexico
  • Belgium
  • Poland
  • South Africa (only 2% of total consumption)

If you live in the Northern Cape, South Africa then, because of the high number of peak sunshine hours, your first step to a massive ROI is already in place.

Ground Based Solar Panels. Photo: Straton Solar


Alan Straton, creator of the My range of web publications, owns the web and print media company, Straton Solar. It is part of a family business, Straton Prepaid, that specialises in developing innovative online solutions to businesses, government and community organisations. He is based in Gqeberha, previously called Port Elizabeth (PE).  

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