Premier Winde’s 7th Energy Digicon focuses on province’s growing “Green Economy" | Western Cape Government



Premier Winde’s 7th Energy Digicon focuses on province’s growing “Green Economy"

13 April 2023

Media release: Premier Winde’s 7th Energy Digicon focuses on the province’s growing “Green Economy”

Premier Alan Winde today hosted Mr Argon Poorun, of non-profit organisation GreenCape, at his latest Energy Digicon to explain what the organisation does in helping to create an enabling environment for people and businesses who are increasingly turning to alternative green energy sources to become less dependent on Eskom. Mr Poorun emphasised, “We want to make sure that people are able to make informed investment decisions that benefit their businesses.”

With the country plunged back into stage 6 blackouts, it remains critical that the Western Cape looks into all viable options to meet the existing and future energy needs of the province. “Now more than ever we must consider and are employing, as the Western Cape Government (WCG), green energy as a more prominent component of our energy mix. Solar, wind and hyrdro energy are cleaner, and used in conjunction with battery storage will be an effective means of filling the electricity void we are having to endure, especially as the country gradually weens itself from coal-fired power,” Premier Winde said.

Focusing on solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, Poorun pointed out Western Cape residents who are considering solar PV installations are at an advantage as the province is leading in creating energy solutions. “Cost should not be seen as a barrier,” he continued, “There are a number of options available for people to access either solar PV or battery storage.”

He elaborated on solar PV procurement options:

  • Balance sheet - The solar PV system is funded by the customer, the cost is high but in return the client gets all of the savings benefit. The client takes ownership of the annual costs of running the solar PV system
  • Debt finance - Banks offer loans for solar PV installations for a period of between 5-10 years and monthly payments are a fixed fee. The collateral requirement for the debt funding is often taken against the underlying property or the system (asset).
  • Lease agreement/rent to own - The installation, maintenance and management of the solar panel and its components is paid for by the solar PV provider, while the business pays a fixed monthly lease payment for the duration of the lease term. The fixed monthly payment is determined based on the estimated annual production of the solar system and not on the solar energy produced or consumed.
  • Power purchase agreement - The solar PV system is installed at no upfront cost. The installation, O&M of the system are fully covered by the solar services provider. This funding mechanism includes insurance and performance guarantees, with the biggest advantage being reduced electricity costs from day one.

In his presentation, Special Advisor to the Premier on Energy Mr Alwie Lester – a former Eskom executive -  reminded the digicon that the concept of loadshedding was “pioneered” in the Western Cape in 2006 due, in part, to the now infamous Koeberg power station “bolt incident” which impacted energy generation. “We really had a perfect storm in that Eskom could not transmit energy into the province and the existing energy in the Western Cape was not available, which got us into loadshedding.” And power cuts have been getting worse ever since. This year so far South Africa has been hit by 92 days of blackouts, with the bulk of the outages at stages 4 and 6.  Mr Lester warned, “In the first quarter of this calendar year, the country has already reached almost 50% of the loadshedding we had in the whole of 2022. We must expect much higher loadshedding this year, particularly this coming winter.” he remarked

On the issue of maintenance, he said a lot of effort will have to be put in by Eskom to get its summer maintenance programme completed because winter maintenance will be at lower level due to increased energy demand.

To watch a recording of this week’s digicon, please visit: