Solar Panel Prices in South Africa

With the seemingly endless load-shedding crisis getting worse, more and more South Africans are opting for reliable home backup power and off-grid solar energy systems.

The upfront investment in residential and recreational solar panel solutions can be substantial. But energy security and independence from Eskom can be priceless.

So, what are the different options for solar panels in South Africa?

And how much do they cost?

Let’s dive in.

What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels?

Residential solar panels are most commonly comprised of monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar cells, covered with a protective transparent material, and housed in a rigid or flexible frame. 

For example, EcoFlow’s rigid solar panels are composed of hundreds of monocrystalline solar cells sandwiched between highly durable tempered glass layers. 

All commercially available solar panels and solar shingles work by capturing photons from sunlight and converting them into DC electricity using the photovoltaic effect.  

Rigid solar panels are typically used for rooftop solar installations, but you can also get portable solar panels for off-grid adventures and flexible solar panels to maximise available sunlight.

But just because solar panels operate using the same basic principles doesn’t mean they’re all created equal. 

Here’s a brief summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the most frequently used types of solar panels in South Africa.

Monocrystalline Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are considered the gold standard of residential and consumer photovoltaic modules. Though more expensive to produce, they generate the most electricity from available sunlight per square meter than any other type.

Monocrystalline solar cells are made by cutting and processing wafers from a single lab-grown silicon crystal. The process results in purer and more efficient solar cells. But it also creates more wastage and energy input, leading to greater manufacturing costs.

The sticker price may also be higher than polycrystalline and thin film panels.

So, why would you pay more?   

When shopping for solar panels, two essential metrics to take into account are rated power and efficiency.

What is Rated Power for Solar Panels?

Rated power for solar panels measures the maximum amount of electricity a PV panel can produce in a laboratory under Standard Test Conditions (STC).

(Source: Research Gate, licensed under Creative Commons 4.0)  

 As you can probably gather from a quick scan of the above, the STCs achieved in a lab are seldom (if ever) achieved in the real world. 

A common mistake people make when first planning their solar panel array or making a purchase is assuming that solar panels will always produce their full rated power wattage during daylight hours. In reality, PV panels often don’t generate their rated power wattage all day long. 

Assuming 75% of rated power wattage is a helpful rule of thumb when planning a solar panel array. For example, a 400W portable solar panel will likely generate around 300W per hour on average during peak daylight hours.

Here are some of the most common factors that impact actual electricity production vs rated power.

Many of these factors are at least somewhat out of your control. 

One that’s not is solar panel efficiency.

What is Solar Panel Efficiency

For solar panels and other photovoltaic modules, efficiency is a very specific metric.

Simply put, efficiency measures the percentage of available sunlight a solar panel can turn into electricity.

Monocrystalline solar panels offer the highest efficiency — about 18% to 20%. This means they generate more electricity per m² than polycrystalline (13% – 18%) or thin film (8% to 12%).

EcoFlow’s rigid, portable, and flexible solar panels all use monocrystalline silicon solar cells and boast an industry-leading efficiency of 22-23%. 


  • Higher efficiency/electricity generation from available sunlight
  • Extremely durable
  • IP68 waterproof/dustproof rating
  • Expected lifespan of 25 years or more
  • Greater electricity production gives you more energy security during blackouts and load-shedding
  • Higher electricity generation can help you achieve solar payback more quickly
  • Solid black appearance of monocrystalline rigid solar panels blends in aesthetically with the rooftop of any home 


  • Potentially higher upfront cost
(Source: ASES)

Polycrystalline Panels

Polycrystalline solar cells are also made with silicon. But instead of being composed of wafers sliced from a single pure silicon cell, multicrystalline silicon is manufactured by melting down raw silicon and moulding it into a block. Wafers are then sliced from the block cut and processed into solar cells.

 Because the purity of a single silicon cell is not required for poly panels, the manufacturing process results in less wastage and reduced energy input. This often results in a cheaper solar panel that produces significantly less electricity by surface area from available sunlight.

You may save some money by choosing polycrystalline panels, but monocrystalline is typically a better investment in the long run.


  • Lower manufacturing costs
  • Less wastage
  • Requires less energy to manufacture
  • Retail price may be cheaper than monocrystalline panels


  • Significantly lower efficiency (12% – 18%)
  • Less electricity generation per square meter
  • Quality of manufacture is typically lower
  • Require more installation surface area to generate the same amount of electricity as mono panels
  • Lower upfront costs are typically outweighed by higher electricity production from mono panels in the long-term 

Thin Film Panels

Unlike mono and polycrystalline solar panels, thin-film panels aren’t made of silicon solar cells. Instead, they are comprised of thin layers of semiconductor material. 

There are three types of thin film solar panels.

  • Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS)
  • Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)
  • Amorphous Silicon (a-Si)

Thin film solar panels are very rarely used in residential or recreational applications because of their extremely low efficiency. They are more suited to large commercial installations where surface area isn’t a significant concern. 


  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Can be inexpensive for large-scale commercial and utility installations 


  • Extremely low efficiency (5% – 12%)
  • Ill-suited to residential rooftop or ground installations
  • Monocrystalline flexible solar panels are also lightweight and offer much higher efficiency (up to 23%)

What Are the Typical Prices of Solar Panels in South Africa?

Prices of solar panels in South Africa (and worldwide) vary widely. 

Three primary factors that determine the purchase price are rated power, quality of manufacture, and whether you opt for more efficient monocrystalline solar panels or polycrystalline.

For example, here are the current prices* of a selection of EcoFlow’s award-winning monocrystalline solar panels that boast industry-leading efficiency.

Cost of Rigid (Mountable) Monocrystalline Solar Panels*

*Current online prices direct from EcoFlow as of November 2023. Prices are subject to change.

100W Rigid Solar Panel: R2,699

400W Rigid Solar Panel: R9,999

Cost of Portable Monocrystalline Solar Panels

110W Portable Solar Panel: R 6,199

220W Bifacial Solar Panel: RR 11,499

400W Portable Solar Panel: R 14,999

As you can see from this selection, the price of monocrystalline solar panels largely depends on their rated power output and whether they have a rigid or portable construction.

Rigid solar panels are ideal for rooftops and other permanent installations. Portable solar panels let you take clean, renewable solar power off-grid and on the go. Just plug into one of EcoFlow’s portable power stations or Power Kits, and you’re all set. No other balance of system components are required.

EcoFlow’s solar panels are compatible with on-grid solar power systems as well. But it’s crucial to remember that grid-tied solar systems won’t work during load-shedding or other blackouts.

Average Cost of Polycrystalline Solar Panels

The costs of polycrystalline solar panels vary significantly between manufacturers, primarily based on rated power, efficiency, and quality of manufacture. 

The average cost of a 3kW polycrystalline solar panel system is currently estimated to be between R50,000 and R70,000. A 5kW system averages between R70,000 and R110,000. 

Factors That Affect Solar Panel Pricing

You’ve already learned about several primary factors affecting solar panel pricing in detail above. 

Here’s a brief summary.

Rated Power

The maximum amount of electricity, in watts, that a solar panel can produce in an hour under ideal laboratory conditions.

Solar Panel Efficiency

The maximum amount of electricity a solar panel can produce per square meter of photovoltaic surface area.

Type of Solar Panel

The most common choices for residential and recreational use are monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon.

Number of Solar Panels and Your Electricity Consumption Needs

Regardless of PV panel type, the number of solar panels you need is primarily based on your electricity consumption and renewable energy production needs. 

If you’re looking to back up essential appliances during load shedding, a DELTA 2 solar generator with the included 220W bifacial solar panel may be sufficient to meet your needs. To keep your home running more or less as normal during a blackout, the DELTA Pro with 400W rigid solar panel (or panels) is a better choice. 

If you add a Smart Home Panel —  and enough solar panels and storage capacity, you’ll probably never need to worry about load-shedding again.   

No matter what your solar panel application is, carefully total up your AC output, electricity generation, and solar battery storage requirements before making a purchase decision.

Balance of System

Solar panels don’t provide electricity on their own. 

They capture sunlight and turn it into DC electricity. Residences and businesses worldwide rely on alternating current (AC) electricity. 

At the bare minimum, you’ll also need a grid-compatible inverter and bidirectional electricity meter for grid-tied systems to generate usable electricity. However, this type of system won’t function during load-shedding or a blackout.  

To achieve some measure of energy independence and security, you need an off-grid balance of system to pair with your solar panels.

Required components include:

It’s possible to purchase each of these components from different manufacturers, but you will likely face compatibility issues.

EcoFlow’s portable power stations and Power Kits offer expandable, all-inclusive, off-grid solar power solutions that take the mystery out of choosing the right system for you. 

Government Incentives

Despite South Africa’s overreliance on coal for electricity generation, its lack of reliability, and its substantial negative environmental impact, the federal government has lagged far behind much of the world in offering incentives for switching to renewable solar power.

However, a recent tax credit offers a rebate on tax liability of 25% on purchases of solar panels with a rated power of 275W or more. The maximum per individual is capped at R15,000 annually.

Unfortunately, the program applies only to solar panels and not to the balance of system components like inverters and solar batteries. 

A growing number of provincial and municipal solar incentives like feed-in tariffs  — notably in the Western Cape and Cape Town — also allow solar panel owners to sell electricity back to the utility grid. 

As load-shedding continues to worsen — and with the global threat of catastrophic human-made climate change — let’s hope these incentives are just a first step in the right direction.


Many people choose to work with a professional installer — especially for rooftop solar installations. 

Any solar power solutions that integrate with a home circuit board and wiring through a transfer switch or Smart Home Panel absolutely require a licensed electrician. Working with high-voltage electrical power is potentially life-threatening. Even if you’re not injured, your installation will likely be illegal or not up to code.

Having said that, EcoFlow offers plug-and-play solar generators that require no professional installation. It all depends on your use case.

If you do work with an installer, make sure to choose carefully. Residential solar power is exploding, and many inexperienced companies are looking to cash in. 

Choose a reputable company, and always keep in mind that manufacturers frequently offer installers commissions and other incentives for recommending their products.

Do your homework before investing in a solar power solution, whether you go the DIY route or work with an installer.

The Lifespan of Solar Panels: How Durable Are They?

Despite the fact that solar panels have to weather the elements to function, high-quality PV panels are actually remarkably durable.

Monocrystalline solar panels generally have longer lifespans without diminishing in performance — often 25 -30 years or more.

But well-manufactured polycrystalline panels can also last for decades.

Some key indicators to look out for when making a wise investment and shopping for durability are:

  • IP Rating indicates water and dust resistance and proofing. Aim for at least IP67, preferably IP68.
  • Manufacturer’s warranty period
  • Recommended operating temperature
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Ease of installation

Also, keep in mind that other components of off-grid solar power systems tend to wear out far before your solar panels. Opt for a solar battery chemistry with a long cycle life like LiFePO4.

Final Thoughts

With load-shedding and the threat of human-made climate change increasing simultaneously, there’s never been a better reason for South Africans to switch at least a portion of their electricity consumption to reliable, renewable solar panel systems.

With recent government incentives, falling prices, and improving technology, off-grid home backup or generators powered by PV panels have never been more accessible.

EcoFlow has a wide selection of solar panels and off-grid solar power solutions to meet your needs. 

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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