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New online portal to power Cape Town’s solar PV boom

With the solar power boom firmly under way in Cape Town, PV system authorisations are about to get a lot easier and faster with a new online application portal. Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis launched the City’s new online Energy Services Applications platform at an event with solar industry stakeholders hosted by GreenCape in Cape Town on Wednesday, 13 March. 

Over 5 000 solar PV systems have been authorised to date, totalling 126 MVA (mega volt amperes), with monthly applications to the City tripling between 2021 and 2023. The new online applications portal is expected to dramatically bring down solar PV authorisation timeframes.

‘We pledged to remove obstacles to solar power investment, and to make more of our services digitally available, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.

‘Capetonians can now get a much faster turnaround on permission to install a solar PV system. With the City’s new online Energy Services Applications platform you can apply, track your status, and get approval on a shorter timeframe.

‘Incentivising widespread take-up of safe, grid-tied solar PV is a key part of Cape Town’s plans to lessen Eskom reliance and end load-shedding over time. The City is looking to buy as much excess solar power as residents and businesses are willing to sell via the Cash for Power programme, under which Capetonians can earn municipal bill credits and cash,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Authorising solar PV systems is a safety requirement as fires and power outages can be caused by inferior, unauthorised PV systems, which also endanger frontline workers maintaining the City’s electrical grid.

‘The City has already halved the wait for Permission-to-Install letters by only accepting grid-tied SSEG systems using City-approved inverters, for the safety of our customers, our City teams, private installers and our grid itself. We have also streamlined the process to get inverters onto our City-approved list, making the verification of applications easier and faster.

‘Now, the new Energy Services Application portal will automate the issuing of Permission to Install Letters for certain types of applications, such as small residential solar PV and battery systems, vastly reducing turnaround times.

‘The portal is integrated with our extensive City databases to seamlessly link property information and electrical supply data for the vetted service providers signing off the installation.

‘If residents already have a pending application, there is also no need to re-submit. The City will automatically upload all existing applications, which will allow us to fast-track those that have not yet been processed,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Councillor Beverley van Reenen.

How to authorise your solar PV system online

If you are an installer, a property owner or a service provider involved in solar PV installations, your first step is to register on e-Services and activate the “Energy Services” tile in order for you to access Energy Service Applications.

Register for e-services here:

You can then apply to authorise your solar PV system via the easy-to-use online portal here:

How to apply to get Cash for Power

Customers with authorised grid-tied SSEG systems will automatically earn credits on their electricity and rates accounts by selling power back to the City.

If customers are interested to go above and beyond this to earn actual cash once their total municipal bill is credited down to zero, they can apply during the next applications window. The first window closed on 8 March, with dates for the next window to be announced in due course.

Once a customer is registered, any remaining credit will accumulate until it reaches a certain amount and then the City will pay you out in cash.

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