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Following the success of 2000 Solar Home Systems produced and installed for the DOE by Specialized Solar Systems, another 650 were recently completed in the Collins Chabang Local Municipality district

Collins Chabane Local Municipality is a municipality situated in the Limpopo province of South Africa.  It was established after the August 2016 local elections by the merging of portions of two local municipalities namely Thulamela and Makhado.

The town, Malamulele, is the seat of the municipality. The main economic sectors are agriculture, community services, finance, trade and transport. The households are situated in rural villages and are currently assisted by 72 councilors for the region.


Solar Electrification Application Procedures

There is currently a large number of households without access to electricity. A need analysis was completed in collaboration with the Department of Energy and in conclusion, an allocation of 650 households was set aside for Specialized Solar Systems locally produced Solar Home Systems (SHS) installations. These were identified as homes without access to the National Grid which will not be serviced by the National Grid for the next three to five years.

The application which was submitted was subjected to an inspection to verify the need and to discuss the implementation plan and procedures that are required for final allocation. This included adjusting the Integrated Development plan as well as verifying the list of  beneficiaries.  A provision for maintenance had to be secured in the form of the funds received from the Treasury for indigent members of the community and the allocation of the Free Basic Electricity portion for maintenance.

The equitable fund for indigent residents makes provision for assistance in electrification. It is therefore important that the indigent register stays updated and the information of installations performed will also assist the local municipality in this task.

This process was completed, the inspection by the Department of Energy was performed and 650 installations was allocated to the Collins Chabane Municipality.

Scope of work

Specialized Solar Systems with Subcosol Consortium were appointed as a Department of Energy Service Provider with a three-year contractual obligation to install Solar Home Systems in South Africa,  as and where required.  This agreement was concluded in 2016 and phase three was completed by the 31st March 2019.

This follows on to the completion of the 1000 non-grid farm workers homes that were installed by Specialized Solar Systems in the Oudsthoorn district on behalf of the Oudtshoorn Municipality in 2017 and also the 1000 non-grid homes in the !Kheis Municipal area successfully completed in March 2018.

Project Plan

Verification of Solar Energy Recipients

Having received the appointment, a formal introduction between the Municipal leaders and the Specialized Solar Systems and Solar Visions Team members were facilitated by Serame Moeketsi representing the Department of Energy.

Verification of the process in verifying the recipients and areas to be installed was established and confirmed by the local councilors representing the wards.

Information was shared with demonstrations of the Solar Home Systems and the expected time frames for completion.

Community Meetings about Solar Energy Implementation

Community meetings were conducted in villages as needed, facilitated by local councilors and representative of Solar Vision, responsible for the ongoing maintenance program.

The separation of tasks roles and responsibilities between the consortium members (Specialized Solar Systems and Subcosol) was as follows:

The Implementation Team

The implementation Teams were constituted as follows:

  • Three installation teams from SUBCOSOL and one Local installation Team from the Collins Chabane Local Area. The mixing and matching of installers accommodate local logistics and ensured local skills left behind. Local installers will also assist with post-installation maintenance.
  • Administration Co-coordinators was deployed by Solar Vision on the project. This aspect of local job creation, as well as an understanding of the project dynamics, was used in collaboration with the local ward committee members in identifying the appointed employees. This will also assist with the maintenance plan by utilizing the administration skills of a local coordinator reporting to Solar Vision.
  • One Subcosol installation supervisor will do training as well as quality assurance – this is a resource with proven installations- as well as supervisory skills.
  • One Subcosol Project Manager will deal with planning, draughting strategic documents, performance-based budgeting, confirming implementation plans and monitor the progress of these plans.

As soon as the consignment of equipment reached the installation sites, it was allocated according to the beneficiary list in that location. The Teams then started the installation process. The administration team followed on with the Beneficiary Acknowledgement Forms where each beneficiary acknowledges that he/she has received the Solar Home System hardware and confirmed that it was successfully installed at the house with the recorded GPS coordinates of the home.

In the Beneficiary Acknowledgement Form (BAF), the beneficiary pledges to abide by the norms and standards of utilization as explained to them. In terms of this pledge, the beneficiary must report any fault or non-performance of the system to the Representative Agent for attention and repair. It is a good measure to prevent tampering and to prepare the installations for the Maintenance Programme.

Tasks, Roles and Responsibilities Specialized  Solar Systems

  • Meet with local Municipal officials to secure a correct mandate
  • Collect a list of recipients
  • Secure maps and details of area and villages
  • Names of councilors responsible forwards
  • Names and contact details of ward committee members
  • Conduct Community information meetings where applicable
  • Visit beneficiaries, inform, verify details and get GPS coordinates
  • Operations meeting with Subcosol representative to:
  • Hand over list
  • Plan operations
  • Discuss and refine logistics
  • Agree on installation time frames for deliveries to coincide with manufacturing ensuring a seamless operation
  • Have a blueprint of installation time frames and procedures prior to commencement
  • Manufacture and procure system components and consumables
  • Dispatch systems for delivery at storage points
  • Arrange storage for deliveries in accordance with the operational plan
  • Perform inspections on installations completed
  • Provide technical backup where needed (possible faults on systems)
  • Capture data as installations are completed
  • Prepare Invoices
  • Submit invoices for payment grouped in batches of app. 200 at a time
  • Follow up on fault reports submitted by Subcosol where applicable
  • Compile and submit closeout report to DOE

Tasks, Roles and Responsibilities Subcosol

  • Arrange and negotiate a local labour component in terms of the DOE contractual initiative for local employment guided by Solar Vision for maintenance purposes
  • Train local installers and supervise practical skills
  • Collect list of beneficiaries from Specialized Solar Systems admininistration
  • Collect systems from storage
  • Allocate systems to beneficiaries
  • Perform installations
  • Provide data of daily progress for capture purposes
  • Submit fault report for follow up where applicable (technical)
  • Submit complaints report and enquiries for follow up where applicable (community)
  • Arrange logistics with DOE inspectors to facilitate inspections

Equipment Installed

  • Distribution unit with an integrated circuit board and electronic components
  • 95W Solar Panel
  • Solar panel Frame
  • 96Ah Solar battery
  • 6 Internal Lights with shades and switches
  • 2 Outside Spot Lights with switches
  • Plug Box with distribution points for Cell Charging, TV, DSTV and Radio
  • Solar lantern
  • Wire and consumables

Beneficiary List

More applications were received than what was allocated and provided for and names were collected and referred to the Municipality for further application to the DOE.

Manufacture and Supply

Specialized Solar Systems is not only manufacturing and supplying Solar Home Systems to fulfill their contractual obligation with the DOE but also supply other Service Providers as was done in the past.

During this round of installations, it was decided to also supply Solar Vision in Polokwane with Solar Home Systems to be installed in the Tubatse Municipal Area, Limpopo. A production schedule for the manufacture of the Solar Home Systems was planned and the procurement process for system components and consumables was executed.


Solar Vision is the appointed Concessionaire responsible for all maintenance in the Limpopo Province. An information meeting was conducted at the Solar Vision Offices in Polokwane attended by senior management, technical managers and all the team leaders responsible for installations and maintenance. Mateli Mapuntsa from Subcosol, responsible for the operations during the installations period, was also present and communication channels for future collaboration were established.

A maintenance agreement between the Municipality and Solar Vision is in place which facilitates the collection of FBE funds to perform the ongoing maintenance.

Specialized Solar Systems will facilitate the further training of the maintenance team as and when required as well as the availability of replacement parts and additional equipment and appliances to be installed on the beneficiaries’ request.


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