Cape Town’s solar PV applications reach record levels

  • Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says appetite for rooftop solar PV is at record levels in the city, with March 2023 now the best month on record for new applications to install solar.
  • This as residents look to capitalise on the City’s incentive programmes to help end load-shedding over time. 

‘February may have shattered all records for solar PV installation applications to the City, but March and April have both already surpassed this. The City has already received 2 333 solar PV installation applications so far this year, with close to 700 in March alone, making it the biggest month to date. Just the first four months of 2023 account for a sizeable 21% of all solar PV applications received since records began. These figures show an energised market response to Cape Town’s incentives for businesses and residents with solar PV generation capacity.

‘Most of Cape Town’s installed solar PV capacity is commercial, but residential applications are what’s driving record-breaking interest levels. This clearly shows the effect of our policy shift to expand how we are actively supporting the uptake of safe and legal solar installations.  To make going solar even more attractive, the City is raising the residential small scale embedded generation tariff by 10,15% for 2023/24, plus a 25c per kWh incentive. The City is also significantly reducing the monthly AMI meter Administration fee in 2023/24. This is aside from the new national tax incentives for solar PV investment,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Cape Town is the first city in the country to offer households and businesses cash for their excess rooftop solar power. The City is set to start paying businesses Cash for Power within June, and residents will be able to start selling power for cash later this year.

Addressing City Council last week, Mayor Hill-Lewis said the City will soon make history again when its Power Heroes campaign starts up later this year. The campaign will offer further incentives for households, with residents able to sign up for remote demand management during peak times, such as power-hungry geysers and pool pumps.

Related news: City of Cape Town to build a R1.2 billion solar plus battery energy storage plant

‘Power Heroes will put the power to end load-shedding in every home. In fact, should just 25 000 of Cape Town’s more than 600 000 electricity customers sign-up as Power Heroes, we can protect against an additional one full stage of load-shedding during peak hours. And for every 20 000 customers we add to the programme, we will be able to expand the hours of the day that we can protect against load-shedding. The programme is entirely voluntary, and costs nothing for those who sign up, so we are calling on as many families as possible to sign up to be Power Heroes,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Cape Town is forging ahead with its three-phase procurement to end load-shedding, with the goal of protecting residents from the first four stages of Eskom’s load-shedding within three years.

Councillor Beverley van Reenen, Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, said the City will this year award contracts for 200MW of renewable energy, with 500MW of dispatchable energy currently out on tender.

‘These initiatives take place alongside key municipal generation projects, such as the Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage Scheme, which aims to save up to two stages where possible, and the forthcoming R1,2bn solar plant and battery project on a portion of Paardevlei in Somerset West, capable of providing a full stage of load-shedding protection during the day,’ said Cllr van Reenen.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Source: City of Cape Town

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