Massive solar rollout in South Africa

 ·12 Feb 2024

Standard Bank says that it has installed over 7,000 solar panels on homes through its LookSee platform, with “consumer green funding” approaching R3 Billion by the end of the third quarter of 2023.

According to the group, it has assisted its banking customers to finance over R164 million worth of solar systems – an increase of 350% year on year.

The bank said that it has seen a dramatic increase in financing of solar systems through home loan re-advances, while it has also been participating in the government-supported Energy Bounce Back Loan Guarantee Scheme.

The bounce-back scheme came into effect in 2023, designed to help small businesses and consumers access financing for energy solutions.

Working with the banks, the scheme offers loans ranging from R3,000 to R300,000, with various repayment periods and interest rates. Some banks offer variable rates – Standard Bank’s LookSee Solar Loan rate is capped at prime+2.5%.

The bank said that the LookSee platform’s Solar Score has also seen increased use. The app analyses a 3-dimensional grid of the home against various factors to assess the suitability of a solar installation on a particular home.

This then provides insights such as the optimal roof space for solar panels, average days of sunlight, estimated generation ability and potential savings on electricity costs from the grid over a period of 1 to 25 years.

Reports of a surge in solar financing and rollout of solar panels households in South Africa align with the latest assessments of the country’s power demand profile, which shows a likely permanent 2,000MW drop in demand on Eskom’s grid.

According to energy analysts, this drop in demand is being driven by South African households and businesses looking to alternative energy sources amid Eskom’s unending load shedding.

It is estimated that South Africans at large installed over 4,500MW solar power in 2023.

According to the Department of Public Enterprises, by the end of August 2023, solar panels capable of generating 4,481 megawatts had been installed in terms of private embedded generation – 2,500 megawatts more than in 2022.

However, while solar is still booming in the country, the demand profile still hits significant peaks in the early morning and evening when the sun is not shining, which has kept the pressure on the grid.

This has been demonstrated by the ongoing daily load shedding, which hit back to stage 6 this past weekend.

Read: Call for R75,000 rooftop solar tax break in South Africa

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