Study set to shed light on increased access to solar energy
11 October 2018
In order to meet its aggressive renewable energy targets, the City of Cape Town is working to establish an appropriate business model to stimulate the uptake of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Read more below:
While the City has seen an increasing number of customers installing rooftop solar photovoltaic infrastructure costs are perceived to be prohibitive by most residents. As such the City is happy to announce that a letter of collaboration has been signed with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Southern Africa Energy Program (SAEP) to investigate appropriate mechanisms to unlock access to the benefits of this technology for more of Cape Town’s residents.
While investing in and rolling out renewables is the obvious way forward for a progressive city which is dedicated to growing its status as the green economy hub of Africa, the City is aware that certain barriers exist.
The City’s efforts to facilitate a move to sustainable models are necessary for creating an environment that allows for the private sector to move safely and legally towards investment into and adoption of these options. Solar projects will become more economically viable only if adoption rates are scaled up, solid public-private partnerships are formed and clear regulatory frameworks are put in place.
There are various models for how this can be done, for instance:
- Nelson Mandela Bay municipality’s model prescribes that investors can pay for solar panels to be installed at private homes and then be reimbursed according to how much energy is transmitted back onto the network
- the City could invest in the capital cost of the infrastructure and then have residents pay this back either via their electricity invoice or property rates
- through community or co-operative funding mechanisms
The study will identify the most appropriate mechanisms for Cape Town’s customers based on legal and technical factors and what is most attractive to residents.
‘The City is determined to build a more secure, cleaner and affordable energy future and we know that the technological solutions already exist to enable us to do this. This collaboration will bring us that much closer towards meeting our renewable energy targets by identifying solutions to the barriers that make it difficult for residents to access to clean and affordable electricity.
‘We have a number of initiatives under way to release Cape Town from its heavy reliance on Eskom. I am confident that the outcomes of this work will be hugely valuable in our committed drive to building a low carbon, resilient and resource-efficient city,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.
‘This move also helps to position the Cape Town as a centre for green business and the growth of the renewable sector helps to preserve our environment. Apart from this though, research and development, design, manufacture and the installation and maintenance of small-scale embedded generation systems and services all provide economic opportunities,’ said Councillor Limberg.
Residents are also reminded that they are required to register and obtain authorisation for their rooftop PV systems in accordance with the City’s Electricity Supply By-law.
Connecting a small-scale embedded generation system (SSEG) to the grid can pose a safety risk and, for this reason, the City must ensure that all generating equipment is approved and installed correctly. Customers have until 28 February 2019 to register their systems, after which they are liable for a service fee and possible electrical disconnection if found to have installed an SSEG system without the relevant approvals in place. Please note that this does not apply to solar water heaters.
To start the registration process, visit www.capetown.gov.za/solarpv.
For information on the City’s SSEG programme go to www.SavingElectricity.org.za.
Issued by Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services, and Energy, City of Cape Town, 11 October 2018