When it comes to domestic, grid-tied, rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in South Africa, as with so many other aspects in the country's electricity supply industry, outdated thinking and reactionary rules are holding back the supply of electricity in misguided efforts to protect the incumbent monopolies.
Chris Yelland is managing director, EE Business Intelligence
Even municipal electricity distributors in South Africa considered to be progressive and forward thinking, such as the City of Cape Town, have ridiculous, self-serving rules when it comes to domestic solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that feed electricity back into the grid. Other municipal and Eskom electricity distributors are no different.
Limits on the size of domestic rooftop solar PV installations
NRS 098 2-1, the outdated Eskom and municipal electricity standard used as the rulebook for small-scale embedded generation (SSEG), limits the size of grid-tied, rooftop solar PV systems in residential installations. For example, a solar PV system on a house with a 60A single-phase supply is limited to 3.68 kW. Similarly, other limits apply to residential installations with 40A, 80A or 100A single or three-phase supplies.
Apparently, the 3.68 kW limit was calculated on the basis that if every single house connected to a final distribution transformer...