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Cape Town to off-set small-scale electricity generation

Cape Town to off-set small-scale electricity generation

The City of Cape Town has set itself a target of sourcing 10% of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020 and the roll-out of the small-scale embedded generation tariff supports this goal.

“Simply put, those residents and businesses that generate their own electricity through alternative renewable energy resources will soon have the option of feeding a limited amount of surplus generation back into the grid, for which there will be an off-set against their electricity accounts,” said Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille.

The City of Cape Town has been at the forefront of green initiatives as part of our commitment to create a sustainable city and one that addresses the challenges facing our environment.

In a pilot project, a small number of residential, industrial and commercial consumers have already connected rooftop photovoltaic (PV) generation to the City’s electricity grid. However, conventional metering installations do not allow for a two-way flow of electricity and the City, for over a year now, has been running a project in search of a solution allowing consumers to feed power back into the grid and to receive an off-set doing so.

This has been a complex process as numerous factors have had to be addressed, including: the establishment of suitable tariffs; identification of suitable metering systems which can measure power flow in two directions; and the implementation of automated billing systems which take into account both the purchase and sale of electricity.

The implementation of the small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) tariffs will make it legally possible to feed electrical power back into the municipal grid.

Consumers who wish to feed SSEG generated electricity into the municipal electricity grid will be required to have a bi-directional advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) credit meter installed by the City at their own cost and take their electricity supply at the appropriate SSEG tariff.

The City’s Electricity Services Department is finalising the outstanding items which will enable the City to provide residents and businesses with an off-set for feeding power back into the municipal grid. An announcement about the first consumer to be signing an SSEG agreement with the City is imminent.

It is a legal requirement that consumers wishing to connect SSEG to the grid must obtain consent in writing from the Director of Electricity Services. A comprehensive set of guidelines will soon be posted on the City’s website explaining in detail how the scheme works, giving details of all the City’s requirements, and providing application forms and contact details.

“Most SSEG projects generate electricity from renewable sources like the sun and wind. South Africa is blessed with sunshine and the City is embracing SSEG technology to assist with the country’s acute power supply. By doing so, we are assisting businesses and households to minimise their own electricity consumption from the grid,” Mayor De Lille said.

Consumers who generate their own electricity are not always able to consume all of the generated electricity immediately and they will now be able to receive an off-set against the cost of their electricity purchases for excess electricity fed back into the municipal grid.

One of the major advantages to consumers in their being allowed to connect renewable energy generation to the municipal grid is that they can generate electricity for their own use without having to invest in expensive batteries to provide electricity after the sun has set or after the wind has stopped blowing.

For the City of Cape Town, it enables us to get closer to our target of sourcing 10% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020.

“Furthermore, SSEG will enable the City to reduce its carbon footprint over time and will further our commitment to building a caring city that uses and enables the generation of clean electricity. Other benefits associated with the roll-out of SSEG are the potential for job creation in the private sector and the development of the local SSEG industry,” said Mayor De Lille.

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