Edgar Brandt Windhoek-Businesses and households who generate their own electricity in the capital have since June this year managed to save a whopping N$1.7 billion thus far from their electricity bills. There are currently 245 net metering customers in the City of Windhoek (CoW), who generate their own electricity, of which 141 are households. Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the electricity grid. For example, if a residential customer has a photovoltaic (PV) system on their roof, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. CoW spokesperson Lydia Amutenya noted that it is very difficult to say exactly how much electricity the privately installed solar power units produce as a whole, because the city’s meters only record excess electricity produced and exported into the capital’s grid but not what each individual consumes. “What we currently know for a fact is that the total combined installation is 9.7 MW to date,” said Amutenya. She explained that connecting a private solar power system is done in accordance to the City of Windhoek’s connection policy and this connection can be integrated at either low or medium voltage level, depending on the customer’s existing connection to the City. When these customers generate excess electricity they are compensated in line with the CoW’s net metering rules, as promulgated. “Since the implementation of net metering rules from 1 July 2017 by the City, so far about N$ 1.7 million is netted off from clients bills, who are registered as net metering customers in line with the net metering rules,” Amutenya noted. The City of Windhoek announced recently that following the gazetting of the net metering rules in November 2016, it would commence with implementing the rules as of July 1, 2017. Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise recently confirmed the City has a database of all customers that have registered their grid-connected PV solar installations and have the correct bi-directional electricity meters installed that enable it to implement the rules, as gazetted. “However, there might be other grid-connected PV solar installations within Windhoek’s electricity network that are not yet registered with the City,” he said recently. Therefore, CoW requested all customers with unregistered PV solar installations to register those installations through their respective system installers by the end of May this year. A recent Government Gazette noted the object of net metering includes the generation of additional power into the national grid, reducing the investment requirements of licensees and conventional independent power producers, to allow customer-generators to reduce their imports from distribution networks through generating for own consumption and to allow customer-generators to export electricity to the distribution network. Also stated as objectives of the net metering were the promotion of sustainable renewable energy sources, small-scale investments, value addition and electricity market development, and to contribute towards reducing unemployment. The Government Gazette stressed that all distribution licensees must offer net metering to customer-generators subject to applicable rules and other applicable laws, rules and regulations. Net metering allows consumers who generate some or all of their own electricity to use that electricity anytime, instead of when it is generated. This is particularly important with wind and solar, which are non-dispatchable. Research suggests monthly net metering allows consumers to use solar power generated during the day at night, or wind from a windy day later in the month. Annual net metering rolls over a net kilowatt credit to the following month, allowing solar power that was generated in July to be used in December, or wind power from March in August.
2017-11-16 09:51:33 10 months ago