Rooftop solar PV finance and insurance issues highlighted


The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association’s (SAPVIA’s) network evening, which took place in July 2017, had an impressive turnout for its three main speakers. The topics focused on financing and insurance risks associated with solar PV installations and projects, as well as an update from SAPVIA about the recently-launched PV Green Card.

Niveshen Govender, Wido Schnabel, Wessel Wessels, Richard Douglas and Duncan Abel

Duncan Abel, from Nedbank’s Embedded Generation Corporate and Investment Banking division, explained why banks decline loans for solar PV installations and gave some advice on how to approach a bank for funding for such projects. Abel said that the property finance divisions of all the banks are the biggest funders of rooftop solar PV. He also explained that different departments within a bank have limited product knowledge and making sure you ask for the right thing from the right person is important. Residential customers should speak to their bank and ask to access available funds. Small to medium sized enterprises, as well as corporate clients, should speak to their business banker and ask for access to available funds.

After Wessel Wessels from Distributed Power Africa gave his views on how insurance companies calculate premiums inaccurately, questions were raised which resulted in a general consensus being reached. The meeting suggested that industry needs a centralised database to monitor the performance of solar PV to enable banks to get access to better statistics to increase the number of loans approved by banks, thereby boosting the solar PV industry. The meeting also concluded that insurance companies do not mitigate insurance costs accurately, which leads to unnecessarily high insurance premiums for businesses and consumers.

On another note, SAPVIA’s programme manager, Niveshen Govender, announced that the final draft of the SANS 10142-3 standard is expected in about six weeks. The standard provides the guidelines for the wiring of grid-embedded PV installations not exceeding 1000 kVA in South Africa.

In response to questions raised regarding the quality of components used for installations, Dr. Tobias Bischof-Niemz, from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), said that the CSIR is working on a solar PV components testing centre, which could be available to industry in about a year from now. Govender said that the PV Green Card website offers a useful database for installers, industry, and consumers. It currently has 31 companies listed while 39 installers have passed the assessment. The PV Green Card helps ensure proper PV installations for South Africa and provides a database of reliable installers.

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Source: EE plublishers

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