Different method of funding required to democratise deployment solar PV among poorer households

  • In this weeks’s Energy Action Plan update from South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, makes mention of an instrument that will facilitate entry of households that cannot afford to install solar PV, to do so.
  • Ramokgopa did not provide any details other than saying that current tax incentives from National Treasury and finance offered from banks assumed that households had financial resources available upfront to invest in solar PV systems.
  • He said that a different method of funding would be required to ‘democratise’ the deployment of rooftop solar among poorer households.

Ramokgopa also added that said the rise in rooftop installation could pose a risk to municipal and Eskom revenues, given that most of those migrating to rooftop solar are good payers. He added that a rethink on how municipal revenues were secured was required in order to ensure revenue electricity revenue streams, given that electricity revenues covered 90% of a municipality’s revenues, with the balance arising from the National Revenue Fund.

Related news: South Africa has unsustainable and growing muniscipal debt owed to Eskom skywards of R56 billion

The country has seen a flood of private sector solar PV projects totalling 2899MW since the amendment of Section 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) in August 2021, which allows the operation of a generation facility with a capacity of up to 100MW without obtaining a licence from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa. Read more

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) and South African Photovoltaic Industry Association SAPVIA recently conducted a ‘Renewable Energy Grid Survey’. The survey reveals that 13305MW of solar PV and 19572MW of solar PV with battery storage are ‘shovel ready’ (construction ready) or close to it. Read more

Chinese customs data compiled by Ember Climate show that South Africa imported over 5GW (or US$1.1bn) of solar panels from China since Jan 2022, with 3.7GW in this year alone.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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