Cape Town’s residents may be happy to know that the registration for solar photovolactic (PV) systems has been moved from February 28 to May 31, as the City has noted residents may need more time to complete the process.

“There is no charge for the registration of solar PV systems. A fee will only be applied for failure to register the system by 31 May 2019,” the City said in a statement. “The registration tells the City where a system is connected and confirms the quality of the installation so that staff and contractors are not electrocuted when working on the network.”

A national legislation draft will soon rule that the formal registration of a small-scale embedded generation system become mandatory.

“It has always been a legal requirement that systems that generate electricity and are connected to the City’s electricity network be authorised by the City prior to being connected,” the City said. “This includes solar PV systems that generate electricity. It has however taken some time for South Africa to develop national standards to connect PV installations safely.”

In the absence of national standards, the City developed interim standards for PV systems to be safely and legally connected to the grid.

“The main reason that registration is required is to ensure the safety of our staff and to supply electricity to all customers at certain quality standards. Information on where these systems exist can also be used for electricity demand control, quality of supply management and for planning future investment in electricity infrastructure,” Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change Councillor Phindile Maxiti said. “We sincerely hope that our residents will make use of all of the assistance on offer with the registration process. It is very clear that we are moving towards a system of national registration and it is the City’s intention as far as possible to assist its residents with this transition within the confines of legislation.”

Notes of emphasis:

No charge for registration
It must be stressed that the City does not charge for the registration of solar PV systems. The R6 425.90 service fee for the removal of unauthorised small-scale embedded generation will only be applied in cases where residents fail to register their system with the City by May 31 2019. Residents should note, however, that there may be costs associated with ensuring that the system is either compliant or off-grid.

Why register systems that are not connected to the network?
The City has statutory obligations to ensure that all grid-tied systems comply with safety and performance standards. To understand whether a system is grid-tied or off-grid, all PV systems must be registered so that the City can confirm if the system is connected to the grid and so that off-grid systems are not mistaken for unauthorised grid-tied systems. Registered systems will be cross-checked with aerial photographs which the City is using to identify the existence of all PV systems.

Furthermore many solar PV systems that claim to be off-grid are not electrically separate from the property’s wiring and are therefore not technically off-grid. To qualify as “off-grid”, a solar PV system must be completely electrically separate from a property’s wiring; for example, a pool pump that is powered by a solar PV system only.

Very small systems that would not be mistaken for grid-tied systems, such as solar-powered appliances or solar lights, need not register.

Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) that use the sun’s thermal energy to heat water directly are not considered electricity generators and do not need to be registered.

However, solar PV panels that are directly connected to a hot water geyser element via a change-over switch will need to be registered (as do all solar PV panels, irrespective of their use) to confirm that the system is an off-grid PV system and is not mistaken for a grid-tied system.

Forms for registration as well as a guide to completing the registration process can be downloaded from www.capetown.gov.za/solarPV.

Picture: Pixabay

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