HomeIndustry SectorsFuture EnergyCity of Cape Town to investigate affordable solar PV structures

City of Cape Town to investigate affordable solar PV structures

The City of Cape Town has announced that a letter of collaboration has been signed with the United States Agency for International Development and the Southern Africa Energy Program to investigate appropriate mechanisms to unlock access to the benefits of solar PV for more of Cape Town’s residents.

This follows after the City has witnessed an increasing number of customers installing rooftop solar PV infrastructure, however, costs are perceived to be prohibitive by most 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,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

The City underlined that its efforts to facilitating 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.

Economical solar projects

According to the City of Cape Town, 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, the following serves as an example:

  • 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. Read more: City of Cape Town to reduce water tariffs and restrictions

“We have a number of initiatives underway 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,’ stated Limberg.

Centre for green business

Limberg continue: “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.”

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.

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.