FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
The following points are important for Solar PV installations in all municipalities:
- Ensure that you register your system with the municipality before the system is installed, especially if you intend to apply for a feed-in tariff. All grid-connected installations require registration.
- Ensure the system is safe by having it installed by a certified installer (check with SAPVIA for PV installer green card certification – https://www.pvgreencard.co.za). Most municipalities require sign-off by a professional engineer.
- Obtain clarity on the feed-in tariffs and rules for the municipal area so that you can ensure that your installation meets the requirements
- Make sure that the installers use good quality equipment with suitable guarantees. Check here (https://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Forms,%20notic...(PV)%20Inverter%20List.pdf) for an approved PV inverter list that the City of Cape Town recommends. Other municipalities may allow other inverters.
The rules regarding embedded generation vary slightly between municipalities. Please see your specific municipality's website for more details.
The costs for a solar PV system vary depending on size, type, and configuration - see the following load-shedding guide that provides some overall cost estimates: https://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Procedures,%20.... Most commercial banks provide specific loans for systems often as an extension of or alternative to your home loan - contact your bank to find out more.
While the Western Cape Government is not able to provide a quote for the supply of renewable energy-related equipment, we advise that you search the following website for an indication of verified PV installation companies searchable by area: https://www.pvgreencard.co.za/reg/installers/inst-directory-a.
It is suggested that you request several comparative quotes.
The tariffs are different for each municipality. Please use the website link below to check whether your specific municipality offers a feed-in-tariff and for any changes that would occur on your monthly fee:
For the City of Cape Town specifically, the following article gives greater insight into the specific changes that will be triggered:
The are several options for potential off-takers including:
Please see the list of links below to municipal zoning information. Should such a link not exist, the Municipal Zoning Scheme By-Laws are easily searched on the municipalities’ websites:
- George Viewer: https://gis.george.gov.za/portal/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=0283eccf869641e0a4362cb099290fca
- Mossel Bay GIS Viewer: https://mbm-gis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a9985be1bc6741609b515ca899e155ca
- City of Cape Town: https://citymaps.capetown.gov.za/EGISViewer/
- Overstrand Map Viewer: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=87af2b39adf742b8963669e46fd59278
- Swellendam Map Viewer: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=2255b8ee960e4b48bf1cc5db3a31cb44
- Bitou: https://bitou.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=7fa5349b01b345ac816ad5f21a7a2cd4
- Theewaterskloof: https://theewaterskloof.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=fc60bbae1b5745c18585f17364c31c23
Other data sources interested parties can use to ascertain the attributes of sites they are looking at:
- DFFE screening tool which includes some of our Environmental Management Frameworks’ layers: https://screening.environment.gov.za/screeningtool/#/pages/welcome
- CapeFarmMapper: https://gis.elsenburg.com/apps/cfm/
- DEA&DP Atlas: https://westerncapegov.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8f2793f9e36e423e85dd0337a554c02f
Should the property be owned by the WCG, we will need to start our processes to establish whether the property is needed by government or if it is surplus to government requirements. If the property is owned by the National Department of Public Works, Municipality or Privately Owned, we will refer them to the registered owner for further consultation. The WCG can be contacted using the following link: https://westerncapegov.custhelp.com/app/ask
The load-shedding outlook changes on a weekly basis, with updates sometimes coming at short notice. The following page provides recent information regarding the outlook:
The current stage of load shedding can be found at:
The City of Cape Town most often runs at a lower stage than Eskom, and the status can be found here:
It is suggested to download a load-shedding application on your mobile phone as this will provide up-to-date notifications regarding the status that can change at very short notice.
Businesses on Eskom and City of Cape Town networks can apply for load curtailment, which, if approved, would mean that instead of being switched off completely during load shedding, a user is required to maintain a certain percentage reduction in energy use for the entire period of load shedding (i.e., not just the time they would have been switched off). This is often more desirable for industry.
There are significant technical limitations, and typically only large power users can apply for load curtailment.
For further information:
Eskom: contact your key accounts manager
City of Cape Town: https://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Graphics%20and...
If your project is stalling due to Environmental Authorizations, note that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) has announced that the EIA approval process for solar PV will be simplified and reduced to 60 days. https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/creecy-announces-eia-exemption-for-solar-pv-projects-in-low—medium-risk-areas-2022-07-21.
If your project is stalling due to other matters, please contact us on: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/110green/contact-us-2
Please see the Eskom website for information on the Eskom grid access process: https://www.eskom.co.za/distribution/grid-access-unit/.
The website provides FAQs and diagrams that show the complexity of the process as well as links to the official processes and contact details.
For grid access at the municipal level, it is best to contact the technical department at your municipality directly.
Significant climate-related funding is available from several organisations. The following link provides access to a database and user guide to determine the best potential sources of funding:
While direct funding of small-scale energy generation is not currently being provided by the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town runs a program that provides a feed-in tariff subsidy of an additional 24c/kWh. Additionally, many solar energy providers and commercial banks in the industry are willing to finance solar installations or even provide capital-free solutions- see industry brief on this - https://green-cape.co.za/assets/ENERGY_FINANCE_INDUSTRY_BRIEF_8_3_21.pdf
Each municipality sets its own feed-in tariffs. Please use the website link below to check the feed-in tariffs for your municipality:
There are several opportunities for SMMEs in the renewable energy sector with most of these available in the solar PV space. The opportunities include the manufacturing, assembling, and importing of solar PV systems. Opportunities also include the provision of professional services, such as energy services companies (ESCOs), logistics, particularly in transporting renewable energy equipment, the construction of plants, and in other support services such as the cleaning of solar panels etc.
The aim of the Municipal Energy Resilience Project is to support municipalities to take advantage of the new energy regulations to generate, procure and sell their own power so that we can become more energy secure in the Western Cape.
While this project should enable municipalities to help buffer residents and businesses from the impacts of load shedding, they will still continue to be connected to the national transmission system (grid) as municipal distribution systems will not always have the required capacity or be located in the required areas. Additionally, the renewable energy generated or procured by these municipalities won’t be able to meet 100 % of the energy demand at this stage.
The project will require us to work closely with national government to explore how the new energy regulations could lead to new energy generation projects within municipalities. We will also work collaboratively with municipalities, including the City of Cape Town, to implement suitable renewable energy projects in a cost-effective manner.
It is too early to say and will be dependent on the size and scale of the renewable energy projects that will be implemented.
To identify the participating candidate municipalities for the Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) Project, a systematic, rigorous and transparent selection methodology was developed called the Municipal Readiness Evaluation Tool (MRET). The municipal readiness evaluation also enables the identification of municipal grid capacity, technical capacity, financial standing and other gaps and development needs for further renewable energy project preparation, development and implementation that may need to be addressed. The criteria were derived from the requirements of the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy’s New Generation Amendment Regulations published in October 2020.
1. Overall financial standing/credit rating of the municipality;
2. Municipal operational capacity (management, financial and technical)
3. The energy policy/by-law landscape of the municipality, and
4. Current energy-related projects in each municipality
The 6 MER candidate municipalities are:
- Drakenstein Municipality
- Mossel Bay Municipality
- Overstrand Municipality
- Saldanha Bay Municipality
- Stellenbosch Municipality
- Swartland Municipality
The project will also collaborate closely with the City of Cape Town.
This will be determined through the development of business cases, the identification of pioneering renewable energy projects and the collation of these into a roadmap of pioneering projects in candidate municipalities. The projects may be located in a candidate municipality or in another municipality, with the power either being used within the respective distribution network or potentially being wheeled across the grid to another area. Additionally, a project may operate as a pooled source of power for more than just the candidate municipality.
Renewable energy such as wind and solar is sustainable when considering that the source of energy is unlimited (sun and wind) in comparison to other sources of energy like coal and oil (fossil fuels) which are finite and being depleted.
Fossil fuels also release greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. While renewable energy technologies utilise non-renewable resources in their construction / manufacture e.g. we need Solar PV cells which are manufactured from metals and we need turbines manufactured from metal to convert wind energy to electricity, they do not release greenhouse gases and other pollutants when operating.
Section 217 of the South Africa Constitution requires that all procurement is conducted in a fair, transparent, efficient, cost-effective and competitive manner. Therefore, all potential bidders need to ensure that interaction with any organ of state does not infringe upon another service providers’ opportunity to conduct business with the state.
Work has been undertaken to develop business cases for each of the four Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) project components - including different technology solutions and scales:
- Municipal utility scale electricity procurement from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) (>10MW)
- New distributed generation capacity at sub-utility scale (1-10MW)
- New self-generation at small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) scale (< 1 MW)
- Large scale battery storage
Part of the preparatory / feasibility work for the above projects will require municipal assessments of current and projected energy consumption figures and assessments of the best means to procure the renewable energy required in a way that enables new energy that improves energy supply reliability, is affordable to customers and maintains the financial sustainability of municipalities.
The MER project is an ongoing programme, with various stages of project development and implementation and would require various services and goods at various intervals / stages of the project. The Western Cape Government and municipalities will engage the energy sector on a continual basis to procure services and goods as and when required. Potential service providers are hereby encouraged to monitor the advertising platforms of the national and provincial government and the municipalities for any potential procurement request relating to energy sector services, goods and/or infrastructure.
Service providers need to take cognisance of Section 117 and 118 of the Municipal Financial Management Act, 2003 which prohibits councillors, municipal officials or any other person involved in the MER project from interfering in procurement processes or accepting proposals prior to a request of submission being advertised. Service providers are encouraged not to solicit any of the above-mentioned persons to consider a specific service provider that will breach the pillars of procurement highlighted in Section 217 of the Constitution of South Africa. This will potentially disqualify the service provider from all energy procurement processes if any interference has been detected.