How to improve your home’s solar score

Published Sep 14, 2023


The decision to invest in solar power for your home is an exciting one.

But, as with all large investments, your choices should be carefully considered to ensure you get the most benefit for your money.

Helping households make informed solar decisions is a priority area for Standard Bank’s home efficiency platform, The site is free-to use, regardless of who you bank with, and offers valuable insights that can help you understand your home’s solar potential and your family’s power needs.

LookSee’s executive head, Marc du Plessis, explains: “The structure of your home plays a significant role in a solar system’s performance and should be the starting point of your decision-making process. This is a complex analysis, but we’ve developed a system that does the work for you.”

The LookSee Solar Score is easy-to-use and only requires your physical address. The system generates a 3D grid of your home and assesses it against various solar performance factors such as roof direction, roof slope and area, and solar radiance. You are then presented with a Solar Score out of 100, usable roof area, average sunlight days, potential electricity generation, and estimated savings on your electricity bill.

Improving solar performance

But what if your home has a low Solar Score or you’d like your roof to generate more solar power?

“For most homes there are ways to improve the solar potential, either through changes on the property or selecting a customised solar system setup,” says du Plessis.

Position wisely

The ideal direction for solar panels to face in the southern hemisphere is north. East or west-facing sides of your roof will still generate power but only for limited hours in the day. South-facing roofs are not optimal for solar panels.

Tip: Got a flat roof? You’ll pay extra for appropriate frames, but you can position your panels to make the most of the sun’s movements.

Eliminate shade

Solar panels require direct access to sunlight so your first and most economical step is to look at what you can do to eliminate shade on your roof. You can’t do anything about surrounding buildings or mountains, but you can prune or cut back trees and bushes to ensure your solar panels can do their work.

Tip: Be sure to prune your trees and bushes regularly to control growth.

Panel technology

If your optimal roof area is small, only receives limited hours of sunlight or doesn’t have the generation potential you require, you might want to consider upgrading to more efficient solar panels. Monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive than polycrystalline options, but they are also more efficient in converting sunlight into power.

Tip: Not sure your solar installer is providing your chosen panel technology? Monocrystalline panels are black and uniform in appearance, while polycrystalline panels have a bluish tint.

Panel size

Solar panels come in different sizes and your first reaction may be to opt for the biggest watt output possible. However, selecting a smaller panel may be a better option as you can cover more of your roof area.

Tip: Ask your solar provider to provide you with a breakdown of your monthly generation potential using different solar panel sizes.

“We understand how important it is to choose your solar partner carefully, especially in light of the solar warning issued by the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud. This is why LookSee offers a full, trustworthy solar journey with valuable insights, access to solar providers that have been extensively vetted by Standard Bank and a variety of financing options,” says du Plessis.

The LookSee Solar Score currently covers metropolitan cities in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape. Work is underway to extend the coverage to all towns and cities in South Africa during 2023 as well as adding sectional title properties.