South Africa approves another 139 MW of PV under new distributed-generation rules


The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has approved 15 photovoltaic projects totaling 139 MW that are expected to operate under the country's regulatory framework for distributed-generation power facilities.

“Eleven generation facilities will be generating electricity for their own use, and five generation facilities will be generating electricity for commercial purposes,” the regulator said in a statement. “All applicants have connection approvals from licensed distributors.”

Eleven plants are expected to be connected to the grid of national utility Eskom and the other four projects will be linked to municipal networks. The project size ranges from 0.1 MW to 80 MW.

All applications were submitted to Nersa in April and the regulator claims it processed them within the 19-day deadline. “Since the increase of the registration threshold from 1 MW to 100 MW, Nersa has approved 218 registration applications. In the first quarter of 2022, 54 generation facilities with a total capacity of 29.1 MW were approved,” it stated.

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In late May, Cape Town-based renewables developer Sola Group secured approval from Nersa to build two 100 MW solar power plants under the new rules.

The South African government raised the threshold for the distributed-generation solar segment to 100 MW in August 2021, exempting developers from applying for generation licenses to improve the entire permitting process. The new rules also imposed a wheeling fee to be paid to national state-owned utility Eskom for the maintenance and upkeep of its infrastructure to transport the energy.

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