While aging infrastructure and limited transmission capacity hold Eskom back from increasing its production of solar power, the private solar sector is experiencing a boom. Private solar capacity now puts Eskom's utility-scale solar generation to shame, standing at nearly double the amount.
This is according to Eskom’s latest renewable statistics which records that around 2787 MW of solar power is currently installed. 2200 MW of this capacity is from PV solar plants, while 500 MW is from concentrated solar plants (CPSs).
In contrast, Gaylor Montmasson-Clair, a senior economist at Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies, told MyBroadband that private PV systems held a capacity of around 5200MW in South Africa by the end of 2023.
The growth of the industry has been exponential. South African energy expert Anton Eberhard told AllAfrica that this amount has more than quadrupled from March 2022 and June 2023, according to data from Eskom.
Eskom’s renewable generation, on the other hand, has stagnated since 2022 said Montmasson-Clair, sitting at around 6200 MW. The national power utility has been unable to conclude contracts for increased renewable generation in three provinces in the Cape, due to limited transmission capacity.
Government incentives have been encouraging the installation of private PV systems for South African households for the last year. The solar tax incentive for solar installations, which will expire on February 29, and the Energy Bounce Back Loan Guarantee Scheme, are two examples of policies aimed at encouraging private solar power.