How do you spend the wet, windy Cape Town winter?

What does a solar installer do during the wet, windy Cape Town winters? It’s difficult to carry on with business as usual when your business is working out in the elements with high voltages on precarious slopes. Our recommendation? Ditch the roofs, take shelter in our warm, dry classroom and complete your 5-day PV GreenCard training in comfort while you learn from the professionals.

The GREEN SuperSolarSchool is accredited by the German Solar Energy Society (DGS) and endorsed by SAPVIA (South African Photovoltaic Industry Association) as suitable preparation for the PV GreenCard assessment. What’s more, the course also earns you 5 CPD credits under ECSA, validated by the SAIEE.

It’s the ideal mix of theory and hands-on instruction, but not to worry, practical days can be moved around to accommodate inclement weather.

There is a course starting on 29 August in Lansdowne, Cape Town. Cost is R12 500 ex VAT pp and includes all course notes and catering.

For more information on the topics covered and to register, visit or contact GREEN Solar Academy on +27 (0) 10 312 6724 or

We’ve got a 10% discount for those who enter the voucher code winter10 at checkout AND you will automatically receive 10% OFF any additional trainings you do through GREEN Solar Academy. So come on, rather than sitting around waiting for the sun to break through the clouds, put those rainy days to the very best possible use and use them for training.

Want to “try” before you buy? Why not book a site visit to GREEN Solar Academy Cape Town and take a short tour of the classroom and practical training facilities. Contact Matt Fisher on 079 100 0340 or

Why is it risky to install solar when its raining?

As we’ve been taught from a young age, electricity and water can be a lethal combo. Solar panels individually, and combined into what’s called an array, can carry massive open circuit voltages, even before they’re connected to the rest of your system, so the risk of electrocution for the installer is very real.

SuperSolarSchool participants learning to do installations on two of our training roofs. Practical days can be moved around depending on the weather forecasts.

What’s more, the roof will also be slippery and even if you are wearing a safety harness, it just takes one slide to cause serious injury.

Finally, penetrating the roof substrate to attach the module mounting structure while it is raining is likely to lead to a disaster down below.

Undercover prep

Of course, steps such as installing the inverter in a covered area or indoors and preparing all the electrical wiring can be done on a rainy day, and once the roof is dry and the rain has stopped, the mounting structure and modules can be added to the system.

Once your PV system is in place, however, you’ll find that a little bit of rain (or even a lot of it) can’t hurt your solar panels – they’re waterproof, so moisture won’t damage them, plus the rain is helpful to wash off some of the dirt and debris that is sure to collect on your modules over time.

Do solar panels work during winter? How about when it’s raining?

The answer to both of these questions, is YES! Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity, not heat. Although there are fewer sunlight hours during winter in Cape Town (compared to a location closer to the equator, for instance), your modules will still produce electricity, albeit with a slightly lower solar output than in summer months. However, the benefit of the winter climate is that the lower temperatures actually improve the efficiency of the solar panels.

There will always be visible light even during the harshest storms and it will penetrate through clouds and rain. On cloudy days, solar panels might generate 30 to 50% of their optimal output and in heavy rain, probably 10 to 20% of their optimum generation.