Following a rapid uptake of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations over the past few years, the City of Cape Town has encouraged all citizens with these installations to register both grid-tied and off-grid small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) systems by 28 February 2019.
In a statement released on Tuesday (24 July), the city said that residents with SSEG systems are required to register and obtain authorisation in accordance with the city’s electricity supply by-law.
However, it noted that this does not apply to solar water heaters.
“Connecting an SSEG system to the grid can pose a safety risk and, for this reason, the city must ensure that all generating equipment is approved and installed correctly,” it said.
“It has taken some time for South Africa to develop national standards to connect SSEGs safely to the electricity grid.
“In the absence of national standards, the city has developed temporary standards to allow people to register for authorisation and connect safely. Since 2010 all small-scale embedded generation systems must be registered with the city.
“With the finalisation of the national technical specifications, there is now growing clarity for the need for all SSEG owners to register their systems rather than obtain a generation licence from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA),” it said.
It added that this registration is anticipated to become a national legal requirement.
As customers may not have been aware of the registration requirement, the city said that it is now proactively promoting registration and allowing a grace period for existing systems to be authorised.
To benefit from this grace period, property owners must register their SSEG system for authorisation with the city by 28 February 2019, it said.
After the grace period, the city will begin implementing a service fee for the disconnection of unauthorised SSEG connections.
“The supply of electricity to the property in question may be disconnected and will only be allowed to be reconnected once the city is satisfied that the SSEG system is either disconnected, decommissioned or authorised and that the service fee has been paid,” it said.
“Customers registering their system during the grace period may continue to operate their system.
“This arrangement is based on the assumption that the system is compliant with the city’s requirements. If, during the registration and authorisation process, a system is found to be non-compliant it will need to be disconnected until such time as it is compliant and has received written authorisation from the city.”
Once customers have registered their system, they have six months in which to demonstrate compliance and receive written authorisation from the city, it said.
You can find more details about registering here.