How Much Does a 5kW Solar System Cost?

2023 was the worst year for load-shedding yet.

Things might get better — but even the government admits load-shedding isn’t going away anytime soon.

Why wait for Eskom to sort things out?

With a 5-kilowatt solar panel system, you can keep all your essential appliances and home systems running during load-shedding or unscheduled blackouts.

But how much will it cost?

Read on to find out.

The Different Types of Solar Power Systems  

All currently available solar power systems that produce electricity do so in essentially the same way.

Solar panels or other PV modules capture photons from sunlight and convert their energy into direct current electricity using the photovoltaic effect.

Photovoltaic modules come in many shapes, sizes, and rated power outputs.

The type of solar cells used, quality of manufacture, and efficiency vary drastically. 

But it’s the balance of system used that determines the system type.

The components required for each system vary by type but typically include:

  • Photovoltaic modules (solar panels)
  • Solar inverter
  • Solar battery*
  • Solar charge controller*
  • Storage inverter*
  • Mounting and installation hardware
  • Cables and wiring

* Optional for on-grid systems


On-grid — or grid-tied — solar panel systems are common in locations with reliable utility power and infrastructure. 

Unfortunately, that description doesn’t apply anywhere in South Africa.

Grid-tied PV systems have the simplest configuration of residential solar power systems and require the fewest components.

However, traditional on-grid solar panel systems don’t work in a blackout.

If load-shedding and energy security are among the reasons you’re interested in switching to solar power, you can skip to the next section.

Just for reference, a grid-tied system consists of:

  • Photovoltaic modules (solar panels)
  • Solar inverter
  • Bidirectional or smart meter (for connection to the grid)
  • Transfer switch (to integrate with your home circuit board and wiring)
  • Mounting and installation hardware
  • Cables and wiring

A grid-tied system doesn’t store electricity. 

It automatically switches to Eskom power when your consumption exceeds the electricity your solar panels produce.

Solar panels don’t work at night, and on cloudy days, electricity production will decrease.

Due to safety and other considerations, on-grid solar power systems automatically shut down during load-shedding or an unscheduled blackout.  


Off-grid solar panel systems operate independently of the utility grid.

Because sunshine — and therefore solar energy — is intermittent by nature, off-grid systems rely on a solar battery and other components to store and deliver electricity.

At minimum, an off-grid solar power system has the following components.

  • Photovoltaic modules (solar panels)
  • Solar charge controller
  • Solar inverter
  • Solar battery
  • Battery management system
  • Storage inverter
  • Smart Home Panel or transfer switch (optional)
  • Mounting and installation hardware
  • Cables and wiring

Whole home solar generators like EcoFlow DELTA Pro contain all of the above components except for the solar panels, mounting hardware, cables, and Smart Home Panel or transfer switch.

In South Africa, where energy insecurity is a way of life, off-grid solar power systems are the smart choice.

Hybrid (Solar + Storage)

Hybrid solar panel systems combine the convenience of on-grid power and the security of off-grid solutions by adding storage.

Getting maximum benefit from a hybrid solar panel system requires reliable utility power.

However, unlike traditional grid-tied systems, a hybrid solution WILL WORK during load-shedding or an unscheduled power outage.

If load-shedding ever becomes less frequent or at lower stages consistently, hybrid solar systems will become a more appealing option.

The primary benefits of being able to connect to the Eskom grid and having battery storage are:

  • Having electricity during load-shedding or unscheduled blackouts
  • Savings on Eskom bills by avoiding peak billing hours 
  • Feed-in Tariff (net metering) functionality (if available)

Some cities, like Joburg and Cape Town, offer Feed-in Tariff programs, whereby you can sell electricity your solar power system generates in excess of consumption to the utility grid.

You must determine if the excess electricity you produce and “feed in” will be enough to offset the additional cost of a hybrid solar panel system.

Hybrid solar power systems are a relative rarity in South Africa.

That may change if the power grid becomes more reliable and Feed-in Tarriff programs are widespread and successful.  

In the meantime, a portable power station like EcoFlow DELTA Pro supports AC, DC, solar and EV charging.

Integrate it with your home circuitry through a transfer switch and it will kick in automatically when Eskom power goes out.

Combining solar + storage with AC charging gives all the benefits of hybrid PV systems without being directly connected to the utility grid.

Factors that Influence the Cost of Solar Systems

Here are the essential factors behind the pricing of residential solar power systems.

System Type

Off-grid and hybrid solar panel systems require solar batteries and additional components that grid-tied systems don’t. 

But it may be worth the additional cost for protection against load-shedding and energy security.

Number and Type of Solar Panels

You must install enough PV modules like solar panels to meet your electricity production goals.

The essential factors to consider when purchasing solar panels are rated power and efficiency.

Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are the most efficient, but they also tend to be more expensive than less efficient polycrystalline and thin-film PV modules.

Inverter and Balance of System

Solar Battery Chemistry

Lead-acid solar batteries are cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Solar panels are a long-term investment.

Make sure the solar battery you buy can stand the test of time.

Lithium-ion-based solar battery technologies like lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4/LFP) offer far superior performance, depth of discharge, and cycle life than lead-acid or Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) Gel or AGM “deep cycle” batteries.

Quality of Manufacture

A solar power system from a reputable manufacturer may cost more upfront, but it likely likely save you money in the long run.


Don’t forget to take installation costs into consideration.

The larger and more complex the solar panel system, the more money you’ll likely pay to have it installed.

EcoFlow portable power stations are a plug-and-play option that doesn’t require professional installation — unless you integrate a transfer switch.

Solar Panel Tax Credit

South African taxpayers can now deduct 15% of the cost of new solar panels from their income tax liability, with a cap of R15,000. 

No federal tax write-offs are available for balance of system components like inverters or solar batteries.

How Much Does a 5kW Solar System Cost in South Africa?

The price of a five-kilowatt solar power system in South Africa varies dramatically.

First, let’s define what a 5kW solar panel system is.

A 5kW solar power system must be able to deliver 5 kilowatts of constant AC output at a specified moment in time.

Remember that grid-tied systems don’t operate during load-shedding or blackouts.

A manufacturer or installer may CLAIM that an on-grid solar panel system is 5kW — and technically, they may be right.

But even if a PV module array has the potential to produce 5kW of electricity when the grid is operational, it won’t provide any electricity in a power outage.

Let’s take a look at EcoFlow’s whole home off-grid generator solution that delivers 7.2kW of continuous AC output (14.4kW surge) — even during load-shedding or an unscheduled blackout. 

EcoFlow 7.2kW Solar Power System 

ProductQuantityUnit Cost*Total
EcoFlow DELTA Pro2R 59,999R 199,998
EcoFlow 400W Rigid Solar Panels162 for R 9,999R 79,992
Smart Home Panel*1R 22,899R 22,899
TotalR 302,899

*Optional. Direct from EcoFlow pricing as of March 2024. Subject to change. 

The above configuration can deliver 44% more AC output than a 5kW system and it will remain operational through the highest levels of load-shedding or extended blackouts.

Depending on the factors outlined below, you may be able to achieve your goals with only one EcoFlow DELTA Pro and fewer than 16 x 400W solar panels.

After the R 15,000 solar panel tax credit, the total cost of the system is 

R 287,899* (excl. VAT).

*Prices subject to change.

How to Choose the Right Size Solar System

Investing in a 5kW residential solar power system isn’t cheap.

But once your solar payback period is complete, you can actually make money from the savings on your electric bills.

To optimise your returns, you must invest wisely.

Here are the essential factors to consider when making a purchase decision.

Household Electricity Consumption

The first step is to accurately determine how much electricity you need your system to provide at once.

A legitimate 5kW solar panel system must be capable of producing 5 kilowatts of electricity at a given moment.

However, just because an installer says it’s a 5kW system doesn’t mean it will provide 5 kilowatts of AC output at any time of day (or night).

A grid-tied 5kW solar panel system won’t provide ANY electricity at all during load-shedding or an unscheduled blackout.

Once you’ve determined the amount of electricity you need at once, estimate HOW LONG you need your appliances and home systems to run on solar power.

Find out how to calculate household electricity consumption.

Peak Sunlight Hours

You can’t control the weather.

But, you can look at historical averages for the amount of direct sunlight your location gets and the hours of peak sunlight per day.

All solar panels come with a rated power output

However, that doesn’t mean that 4 x 400W solar panels produce 1600W per hour, 24 hours a day. 

In fact, they’re unlikely to produce their full rated power even during daylight hours.

Learn how to calculate solar panel output.

Find out why solar panels don’t always generate their rated power

Photovoltaic Module Efficiency

Like rated power, solar panel efficiency is determined in a laboratory under Standard Test Conditions.

Standard Test Conditions for Solar Panels

Condition TypeStandard Test ConditionReal-World Conditions
Solar Incident AngleAlways zero, irradiation beam always normal to the PV panel*Variable, and depends on time, date, and site latitude. In the case of rooftop systems, roof orientation, and inclination govern system capacity.
Solar IrradiationAlways equal to 1000 Watts/m²*Variable and depends on the time, date, and site latitude. Limited sunshine hours bound system capacity.
Ambient TemperatureAlways 25°C*Variable and depends on the time, date, weather condition, and site latitude. Higher ambient temperature degrades PV panel efficiency and reduces system output.
Air Mass Coefficient (AM)Always equal to 1.5*Variable and depends on the time, date, and site latitude. Higher AM with higher latitudes.
System Losses
(e.g., Wiring, Inverter)
Always Zero*Variable and depends on the design and location of PV panels, inverter, and grid meter.

*Cannot be achieved in real-world operation (Source: ResearchGate)

As a solar panel spec, efficiency measures how much peak sunlight per square meter of photovoltaic material (solar cells) a PV module can convert into DC electricity.

To a solar newcomer, efficiency ratings may seem surprisingly low.

Industry-leading monocrystalline silicon solar panels top out at an efficiency rating of 23%

Good thing sunlight is an infinite resource!

Learn more about solar panel efficiency. 

Other Factors To Consider

Final Thoughts

If you’re tired of load-shedding and sky-high energy prices, there’s never been a better time to switch to solar.

Even if you’re not ready to invest in a 5kW solar panel system just yet, EcoFlow has a wide variety of solar generators to meet every need — and every budget.

Check out our selection today!

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.


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