“If used efficiently, we can look at a farm of our size probably reliant on an Eskom bill of about R30,000 to R35,000, more or less, and you could have this solar panels system start knocking off about R10,000 in terms of a savings there, which would pay itself off in a three or four-year period before we start seeing a real return on investment,” Louw said.
The company is one of many that have moved towards solar. Installer Seraj Chilwan of Aces Africa says while the majority of the systems are for self-consumption, some could start supplying power to the grid. The City of Cape Town pays producers 75c per unit plus a 25c incentive.
“I think moving towards net generation is a game changer. It’s showing the city is being proactive in combating load-shedding and the need for energy to be supplied to the grid. I think though, they should seriously consider a one-to-one tariff,” said Chilwan.
Most of Chilwan’s clients install systems based on the business consumption needs and not with the goal to produce excess to sell to the city. This is partly due to that until mid-2021, embedded generation was not allowed to produce more than 1MW of electricity without acquiring a licence through the National Energy Regulator.
“Will these businesses lay out, say, R10m [for a bigger system]? If it’s one-to-one and they can make revenue from it because they’ve got the roof space, it makes business sense,” said Chilwan.