If it’s not the electricity tariff hikes, it’s the frequent power outages caused by load shedding, a problem that doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. This has driven many South Africans to consider and resort to various electricity alternatives such as the solar power.
And while the solar power system cost less and is environmentally friendly, there’s other avenues that need to be considered such as the effects your solar power installation will have on your insurance claim in the unfortunate future.
According to Elite Risk Managing Director, Tarina Vlok there are a number of hidden or unsuspected dangers or difficulties that come with using solar power that could jeopardise your insurance claim process. She therefore urges homeowners to ensure their solar installations meet the required standards as per solar power installation and use regulations.
She said that because the installation of solar geyser systems is much different from that of an electrical system is subject to strict regulations, adding that at times have to reject claims due to non compliance.
We often have to reject claims or are unable to replace geysers because the previous installation did not comply with the regulation,” said Vlok.
Though solar power costs much less than prepaid electricity, a full solar energy installations can be quite expensive depending if its a small grid system which is less costly or the larger completely off-grid system which is on the much costly side.
“If you are spending this kind of money on a solar system, then it makes sense to work with qualified technicians and installers who know what they are doing. You don’t want any regrets should you need to ever claim from your insurer,” she recommends.
She also stated that an engineer doing the installation must have a certificate for 300 litres or more solar geyser installations and encouraged insurance holders to make sure that their solar geyser systems are fitted by technicians who are familiar with the regulations and are supported by reputable engineering professionals.
“Policyholders should make sure that their installer demonstrates that they are familiar with the technical regulations relating to solar installations,” said Vlok.
She also encouraged policyholder to use their insurer to find reputable technicians and installers in order to avoid any glitches when they have to claim from their insurance.
“If your electrical geyser bursts and you want to replace it, some specialist insurers will offer you the opportunity to use the claim payment to pay either in part or full for a solar geyser system instead of a new electric geyser,” Vlok said.
Here are some technical regulations as per Vlok.
- Installers must ensure that the roof structure can support the solar system. (SANS 10106:2014 5.3.1)
- Where it is impossible to comply, a professional engineer or registered technologist must design the installation to incorporate the standard’s safety and performance principles. (SANS 10254 2017 126.96.36.199 and SANS 10106 2014 4.1.7)
- Water heaters or storage tanks with a capacity of 200 litres or more may not be attached to a wall. (SANS 120252–1 2012 188.8.131.52)
- The solar system must be installed so that it does not accelerate the deterioration of the roof. (SANS 10400-L, SANS 10243, and SANS 10252–1)
Elite Risk is a specialist high net worth insurer and subsidiary of Old Mutual Insure.
More solar system installation regulations here
Picture: CapeTown ETC gallery