How to start a solar farm in South Africa

How to start a solar farm in South Africa

This is a guide on how to start a solar farm in South Africa.

The demand for renewable energy has been on the rise and solar is the perfect source of renewable energy. There are not many solar farms in South Africa, but we have the biggest solar farm in Southern Africa and across the middle east. This guide will touch on some of the most important things that you should not look over when starting a solar farm in South Africa.

Why start a solar farm?

Solar farming offers an excellent return on investment and is generally a safe investment. The future is renewable energy, you can start positioning yourself right now as a solar energy producer and you will benefit immensely by the time we make a transition to renewable energy. Solar farming is not high maintenance, you don’t need a lot of people to work on the farm.

You can even start a solar farm on a small scale then grow it with time, the time is now ripe for anyone that wants to get into this business. Start now and don’t wait for everyone to do it, that’s usually too late.


These are some of the things you need to setup your farm, the requirements might change based on the scale of your farm.

1. Land

You need land for this kind of farm, a huge one. The tricky part might be knowing exactly how much land you need, as a rule of thumb, you need about 6 hectares to produce 1 Megawatt. A megawatt can supply hundreds of homes with electricity. Eskom says that you need only about 8MW to power a small town like Parys.

Land in some areas will be more expensive than land in other areas, land is generally cheap in places like the Northern Cape, you can be able to get the land that you require for around R500 000. The Northern Cape is a perfect place to setup a solar farm as it is mostly hot and dry.

2. Construction

This is the really expensive part, but once it’s over you will not have a lot of operating costs. Construction of a solar farm that produces 1MW may cost well over 10 Million Rands. You can still construct a much smaller solar farm and build from there. For this you can outsource to solar installation companies. It’s best that you choose a reputable company because you will be working with them for a long time.

3. Documentation

You will need to register the business; you can produce power independently but you cannot sell it off by yourself. You will need to partner up with Eskom, Eskom has a programme that allows independent power producers to sell electricity to them. This programme is called the independent power producers procurement programme.

State of Independent power producers in South Africa

  • Over 700 000 homes were powered by independent power producers in 2014.
  • R800 million was saved in coal and diesel fuel costs in 2014 due to IPPs.
  • R145 Billion has been invested in this industry but it is concentrated at a few major companies.


This was a guide on how to start a solar farm in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. What are the returns on a 1MW Solar farm

  2. Greetings your guide is so helpful and I have a community member who owns a big farm in KZN and he wants to open a sollar farm. How can you assist to make his deam a reality.

    1. hI Thulani
      I run a PV consulting and installation business, (Masedi Technologies) based in Johannesburg. Should you/community members want further information on how to conduct such a project, feasibility, design, cost calculations, energy Yield, ROI etc. kindly drop me an email.

      1. Hi there. Where can we reach your for your services?

      2. Hi has anyone here heard back from Ferai Masedi Technologies? I can not find the company on Google. I have a renewable energy company focussing on installations. I am now building a solar farm and need help with design cost, energy-yielding, and project management. If anyone here can help, drop me an email at

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