SA’s first electricity feed-in system being tested

Posted by Laura Grant on September 1, 2008
Posted in Renewable energy

Nelson Mandela Bay could be the first municipality in South Africa where homeowners will be able to produce their own renewable electricity and sell the surplus to the national utility, reports The Herald online.

The report says that a pilot project aimed at checking the feasibility of the feed-in approach began six months ago. A one kilowatt solar panel package and a one kilowatt wind turbine on a 12m mast have been installed at a test home, the report says. The system has been up and running since July 28, says the municipality on its website.

An official from the municipality’s electricity department told The Herald that they hoped to be in a position to decide if “embedded power generation”, as it is rather cryptically being called, can be rolled out on a large-scale basis in the metro.

According to the municipality’s website, the project will hopefully lead to national laws and regulations to allow people to connect renewable sources of energy (such as wind turbines and solar panels) to the public utility, and sell the excess energy produced (electricity which isn’t consumed by the household) at a so-called “green feed-in tariff” or “renewable tariff”.

The scope of this green tariff is to make renewable energies affordable for everyone, the website says.

At present in South Africa it is illegal to feed electricity you produce yourself into the grid because their are no bylaws governing such activity. There are also various security issues that need to be taken into account, which is something the Nelson Mandela Bay project is reportedly working on.

Households wanting to participate in a feed-in scheme would reportedly have to be awarded a licence by the National Energy Regulator. The way in which power can be fed back into the grid and feed-back tarrifs will also have to be established.

The report said the the Nelson Mandela Bay project is tackling the legislative side of things while the technical feasibility is being assessed. It also said that the municipality would consider ways of subsidising the costs of the equipment needed to generate renewable energy, with the help of the Central Energy Fund, as a way of encouraging households to buy it.


One Response to “SA’s first electricity feed-in system being tested”

  1. ryan
    November 19th, 2009 @ 9:21 am

    What is the latest on this most sensible project. Why should it be so difficult for the hollow headed bastards to give us the ability to sell our excess power and solve many a problem thereby.

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