The study quantifies the expenditure savings that may be achieved by residential and commercial consumers in South Africa when installing rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems with the aim of consuming most of the resulting electricity directly (henceforth termed self-consumption). The analysis is based on scenarios for the future development of PV, including battery costs, the evolution of the retail electricity price and potential modifications to rate design (e.g., the introduction of demand charges). The study further analyses the uptake of PV and PV+Battery systems within these two consumer classes in South Africa up to 2030.
Key policy opportunities:
Policy opportunity 1: South Africa has a tremendous potential for rooftop solar PV. In the metropolitan municipalities alone, rooftop solar PV has an economic potential of 15 GW between now and 2030.
Policy opportunity 2: South African households and businesses can save money by investing in solar: annual savings for the residential sector alone sum up to around R12.8 billion.
Policy opportunity 3: In order to benefit from PV self-consumption in South Africa, it is crucial to establish attractive Small Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) rates, to managing and forecasting the future uptake of self-consumption at municipal and national level and to establish incentives for low-income households to become prosumers.
Year of publication: 2019
Editors: Ayodeji Okunlola, David Jacobs, Ntombifuthi Ntuli, Ruan Fourie, Laura Nagel and Sebastian Helgenberger – IASS Potsdam, CSIR and IET
Technical implementation: Mamahloko Senatla, Lehlogonolo Chiloane, Unarine Mudau and Raj Naidoo – Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Energy Research Centre and University of Pretoria, Smart grids research group, South Africa
Suggested citation: IASS/CSIR. Consumer savings through solar PV self-consumption in South Africa. Assessing the co-benefits of decarbonising the power sector. Potsdam/Pretoria: IASS/CSIR, 2019.
This study is part of a 2019 series of four studies assessing the co-benefits of decarbonising the power sector in South Africa, edited by IASS and CSIR:
- Improving health and reducing costs through renewable energy in South Africa
- Economic prosperity for marginalised communities through renewable energy in South Africa
- Future skills and job creation through renewable energy in South Africa