Increased demand for back-up systems following rumours of load shedding

Increased demand for back-up systems following rumours of
load shedding

Despite Eskom's acting CE Phakamani Hadebe claiming that there will not be load-shedding this year, independent reports show significant coal supply problems at numerous Eskom coal-fired power stations in Mpumalanga. The problem is so serious that Eskom’s primary energy division has recommended that a coal supply emergency be declared.

Eskom has also confirmed that it has been relying on emergency, diesel-driven, open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) regularly to meet demand this year.

The latest coal supply reports suggest that Eskom’s current problems are as serious, if not worse, than those that existed in South Africa shortly before the load shedding of 2008.

Eskom is currently asking the regulator, Nersa, for R67bn of unbudgeted costs and reduced sales volumes to be passed through to customers via a 30% increase in electricity tariffs. There are also indications that Eskom will be applying for a significantly greater price increase per annum than CPIX for the fourth multi-year price determination (MYPD4) period commencing April 1 2019.

The high level of uncertainty regarding potential load shedding and increasing tariffs creates a range of opportunities for solar PV installers. Increasing implementation of grid-tied systems for commercial and industrial applications will not only take the strain off the Eskom grid, but will fix the cost of electricity for project owners at a known escalation rate to provide a far more stable and manageable alternative.

For residential applications, hybrid systems comprising an inverter and battery storage can provide back-up power in the event of load shedding, ensuring that power failures do not result in essential loads being disconnected. For homeowners on a tight budget, a hybrid inverter can even be installed on its own first and utilised as a grid-tied inverter, with battery storage added at later date once funds are available.

GNTC offers a range of solutions for all these applications. Contact us for more information.