3 July 2012 - Small-scale renewable energy solutions, produced from zero or low carbon source technologies and derived from naturally regenerative or practically inexhaustible resources, are the latest addition to the list of energy efficient technologies funded through Eskom’s Standard Offer programme in South Africa.

Introduced in consultation with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) as a pilot project with total capacity achieved during this phase limited to 10 MW, small-scale renewable energy solutions allow Eskom to further broaden the scope of optimal energy usage in South Africa through its range of energy efficiency rebate programmes

For this purpose, renewable energy sources include biomass waste; wind energy; and geothermal, solar, thermal gradient and ground source heat. Solar thermal liquid heat is excluded from the programme but municipal solid waste will be considered a source.

Small-scale renewable energy solutions will be limited to an installed capacity range of between 10 kW and 1.0 MW.

The solution will, like all other Eskom energy efficiency rebate programmes, support the utility’s strategic commitment to save electricity and reduce demand on the national grid; it is, therefore, not in competition with independent power producers utilising renewable energy sources.

Customers or project developers wishing to apply for funding must submit electrical and structural designs certified by qualified engineers as part of the application, and a letter from the electricity supplier – Eskom or a municipality – confirming knowledge and acceptance of the proposed network connection, and registration of the project as per Nersa requirements.

To qualify for funding, equipment should be installed on the energy user’s side of the meter; systems should be new and in compliance with performance and safety standards applicable to all components of the installation.

In addition, stand-alone systems not tied to the grid must replace existing national electricity connections to substitute energy that would have been drawn from the grid. Grid-tied systems must comply with all regulatory and embedded generation interconnection requirements; a letter from the relevant local authority or electricity utility will be required as part of the application to confirm the applicant’s knowledge and acceptance of the proposed connection onto the network.

Initially, funding will only be available for systems that do not feed electricity onto the grid at a rate of R1.20 per kWh, and be paid as per the usual Standard Offer Programme milestone payments based on the agreed rate, and the total savings delivered over the contract period of three years.