Cape Town starts buying excess solar power from residents – here’s how to apply

 ·12 Feb 2024

The City of Cape Town has launched its new scheme to allow residential households to earn hard cash from the excess power generated from installed solar PV systems.

City mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced that the first round of applications for the city’s “Cash for Power” scheme is now open until 8 March.

Through the scheme, residential households that are willing to jump through the registration hoops will be able to earn actual money from the city for their excess solar. Up until now, residential solar PV users have only been able to get credit on their municipal bills.

“We will buy as much solar power as households and businesses can sell to us under the Cash for Power programme,” said Hill-Lewis.

“Households can also volunteer for our Power Heroes programme to remotely switch off geysers at peak times in a bid to avoid a full stage of load-shedding.

“And in another first, we are enabling businesses to sell power to each other and wheel it across the grid, which will add 350MW of decentralised power to Cape Town’s grid in time.”

The strategy is part of the city’s roadmap to 2050, which includes short-term plans to protect against the first four stages of Eskom load-shedding by 2026.

How to apply to get Cash for Power

Interested households need to apply for the Cash for Power scheme. Applications for this round should be submitted to [email protected] by 8 March 2024.

The city said that Cash for Power applications are open for all residential customers on the home user tariff with an approved grid-tied SSEG system and bi-directional AMI meter to feed power back into the grid.

It outlined the following steps to get involved:

  • Step 1: Install a grid-tied solar PV system with a city-approved inverter. Installers must apply to the city to authorise the system for grid connection before it is installed.

  • Step 2: The city will install an AMI meter at the relevant SSEG Feed-in Tariff rate.

  • Step 3: The customer moves to or remains on the Home User tariff. Excess electricity is credited at the SSEG Feed-in tariff rate.

  • Step 4: Electricity fed into the grid will be measured and credited to the customer’s monthly municipal account at 87c/kWh + 25c/kWh incentive. This credit is offset against the customer’s monthly municipal account.

  • Step 5: Customers with remaining credit after the offset will be paid out in cash once the amount exceeds R1,000. Payments will be held back until the credit reaches this amount and paid out once a year.

The city noted that interested parties are required first to be registered as a service provider on both the City Supplier Database and the National Treasury web-based Central Supplier Database (CSD), accessible from the links below:

“Any submissions received after this date will be kept for the next round, with the date to be announced after this first round closes on 8 March 2024,” the city said.

“As per Supply Chain rules, successful Cash for Power sellers will contract with the City for a period of three years after appointment.”

The city said that it is important to note that customers wishing to only offset their electricity and rates accounts, do not need to apply and will automatically be compensated on authorisation of their grid-tied SSEG system with feed-in.

“If customers are interested in going above and beyond this, they can register and get cash for their power – where any remaining credit will accumulate until it reaches a certain amount and then the City will pay you out,”’ said Councillor Van Reenen,” it said.

More information on the City of Cape Town’s Cash for Power scheme can be found here.

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