South African Homes And Businesses Install 4,400MW Rooftop Solar PV, Doubling Eskom’s Capacity

Representational image. Credit: Canva

According to data from Eskom and Professor Anton Eberhard, South African households and businesses have installed an estimated 4,400MW of rooftop solar PV, which is twice the solar capacity procured through Eskom’s four bid windows.


Eberhard’s data shows that the country’s installed solar rooftop PV surged from 983 MW in March 2022 to 4,412 MW in June 2023, marking an impressive 349% increase in just over a year.


Eskom’s transmission division is believed to be the source of this data on private solar installations, as it is determined by analyzing the variance between predicted and actual energy demand in the country. The assumption is that the shortfall in actual demand relative to Eskom’s predictions is due to alternative energy sources, such as solar rooftop PV.


This significant increase in solar rooftop PV to 4,400MW surpasses the estimated 2,200MW installed under the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (Reipppp), indicating that South Africans are outpacing the government in adopting solar energy.

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The primary reason for this trend is Eskom’s limited grid capacity, which has hindered the power utility’s efforts to add new generation capacity. To address this, Eskom introduced the Interim Grid Capacity Allocation Rules, but some private power developers have criticized this move, fearing increased costs and uncertainty regarding grid access.

Despite the challenges with Eskom, South Africans are taking matters into their own hands and investing in alternative energy solutions to cope with frequent and high levels of load shedding.

The increasing adoption of solar PV has resulted in a decrease in the remaining load that Eskom must handle throughout the day, resulting in reduced load shedding and more energy available for replenishing its pumped hydro and diesel storage.

According to research conducted by RMB Morgan Stanley, electricity generated by the private sector is projected to surpass the output from Eskom’s generation fleet by the year 2025. According to their estimates, Eskom will produce about 25,200MW of electricity in 2025, slightly more than 47% of its maximum capacity, while alternative energy sources will contribute 26,600MW.

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Although this shift will significantly reduce the supply deficit, RMB notes that load shedding will not completely end, as a shortfall of around 400MW is expected to persist in 2025. By 2030, despite alternative energy sources producing over 36,000MW, a shortfall of over 1,000MW is anticipated, largely due to further deterioration of Eskom’s generating fleet.

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