Solar boom for Cape Town

 ·29 May 2023

The City of Cape Town says the appetite for solar is growing, with March seeing record levels for new applications to install solar.

The city said that residents are trying to capitalise on its new incentive programmes to help end load shedding.

“February may have shattered all records for solar PV installation applications to the city, but March and April have both already surpassed this,” said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

“The city has already received 2,333 solar PV installation applications so far this year, with close to 700 in March alone, making it the biggest month to date. Just the first four months of 2023 account for a sizeable 21% of all solar PV applications received since records began.”

“These figures show an energised market response to Cape Town’s incentives for businesses and residents with solar PV generation capacity.”


Although most of Cape Town’s installed solar PV capacity is commercial, residential applications are driving demand, the mayor said.

“To make going solar even more attractive, the city is raising the residential, small-scale embedded generation tariff by 10,15% for 2023/24, plus a 25c per kWh incentive. The city is also significantly reducing the monthly AMI meter Administration fee in 2023/24. This is aside from the new national tax incentives for solar PV investment.” 

The city said that it will start paying businesses cash for their excess solar in June, while residents will be able to start selling their power for cash later this year.

Other incentives 

Hill-Lewis added that the city will kickstart its Power Heroes campaign later this year, which will incentive households to sign up for remote demand management during peak hours.

“Should just 25,000 of Cape Town’s more than 600,000 electricity customers sign-up as Power Heroes, we can protect against an additional one full stage of load-shedding during peak hours.”

“And for every 20,000 customers we add to the programme, we will be able to expand the hours of the day that we can protect against load-shedding. The programme is entirely voluntary, and costs nothing for those who sign up, so we are calling on as many families as possible to sign up to be Power Heroes. 

In addition, the city said that it was going ahead with its three-phase procurement strategy to end load-shedding, with the aim of protecting residents from four stages of load shedding within three years. 

Beverley van Reenen, Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, said the city will award contracts for 200MW of renewable energy later this year, with a further 500MW of dispatchable energy presently out on tender.

‘These initiatives take place alongside key municipal generation projects, such as the Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage Scheme, which aims to save up to two stages where possible, and the forthcoming R1,2bn solar plant and battery project on a portion of Paardevlei in Somerset West, capable of providing a full stage of load-shedding protection during the day,’ said van Reenen.

Read: Eskom looking into new power station that could cut load shedding by 3 stages

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