Cape Town’s Power Play: Selling Excess Solar Energy for Cash

Capetonians to Cash in on Solar Surplus

Cape Town, known for its stunning landscapes and picturesque beaches, is now set to lead the way in innovative energy solutions. In a pioneering move, the city becomes the first in South Africa to incentivize households and businesses to sell their surplus rooftop solar power. This year, through its revolutionary ‘Cash for Power’ initiative, the City of Cape Town plans to convert excess power into cash incentives.

Solar Power: Driving Commercial and Residential Interest

While Cape Town’s installed solar PV capacity primarily serves commercial interests, residential applications are creating record-breaking demand. “This surge in interest reflects our policy shift toward supporting the adoption of secure, legally compliant solar installations,” remarked Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

Making Solar Power More Attractive

In an effort to bolster solar attractiveness, the city is increasing the residential small-scale embedded generation tariff by 10.15% for 2023/24, coupled with a 25c per kWh incentive. Additionally, the administration fee for the monthly AMI meter in 2023/24 will see a significant reduction, on top of the recently introduced national tax incentives for solar PV investments.

Record High Demand for Solar Power

Cape Town’s solar PV demand is skyrocketing. According to Hill-Lewis, the first few months of 2023 have already exceeded February’s record-breaking solar PV installation applications. “With 2,333 solar PV installation applications received this year, including nearly 700 in March alone, 2023 already accounts for 21% of all solar PV applications since records began,” Hill-Lewis said.

Power Heroes Campaign: Putting Power in the Hands of the People

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The City’s ‘Power Heroes’ campaign is another ambitious initiative aiming to empower households. By signing up, residents can participate in remote demand management during peak hours. The Mayor affirms that with enough participation, residents could significantly reduce the impacts of load shedding.

Plans to End Loadshedding: Three-Phase Procurement

Parallel to these initiatives, the City continues its commitment to shield residents from the first four stages of Eskom’s load shedding within three years. Councillor Beverley van Reenen, mayoral committee member for energy, informed that contracts for 200MW of renewable energy (with 500MW currently on tender) are slated to be awarded later this year.

Major Municipal Generation Projects

Simultaneously, key municipal generation projects, such as the Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage Scheme and a forthcoming R1.2bn solar plant and battery project in Somerset West, are moving forward. These projects aim to provide significant protection from load-shedding, marking a new era of energy independence for the city.