South Africa Registers 605 MW RE Capacity In Q3/FY2023

State Worries About California Duck Curve As Solar Hogs New Power Generation Facility Registrations

South Africa Registers 605 MW RE Capacity In Q3/FY2023

NERSA’s Q3/FY 2023 new registrations have a lion’s share of solar PV projects. (Photo Credit: NERSA)

  • NERSA registered 124 new power generation facilities in Q3/FY 2023 representing 605 MW capacity 
  • Only 2 of these represent a combined 1 MW of solar PV with storage projects, while the remaining 122 account for solar PV 
  • BESS is yet to take off in the country, making NERSA worry about California Duck Curve 

Out of 124 new power generation facilities registered by South Africa’s National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) during the last 3 months of the calendar year 2023, solar PV accounted for 122 projects with a combined 604 MW capacity.  

The remaining 2 generation facilities, with a combined 1 MW capacity, represented solar PV with battery energy storage system (BESS). The state agency attributes this low interest in BESS to the technology not having reached maturity within the country’s electricity supply industry, and its high costs. 

Solar PV continues to gain with its flexibility for small-scale and large-scale generation, according to NERSA. The country’s total installed solar PV capacity at the end of 2023 was 7.78 GW, comprising 2.96 GW large-scale solar added in 2023, according to AFSIA (see Africa Installed 3.7 GW New Solar PV Capacity In 2023). 

Out of the 605 MW capacity, 86 facilities with 568 MW capacity are connected to the Eskom network, while 38 projects with 37 MW capacity are connected to the municipal distribution network. The average investment cost for Q3/FY2023 (October, November, December) was ZAR 12,817 ($672)/kW. 

During the 3rd quarter of FY 2023-24 (October, November, December), the 122 solar PV facilities registered represented an investment cost of ZAR 7,753 million ($406 million). 

Of these, 3 generation facilities with a combined 77 MW were registered for commercial purposes. Most of the solar facilities were registered for the Western Cape province, followed by Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, among others. 

The North West Province, which is high on mining activities, generated the highest investment cost during the quarter at ZAR 3.5 billion ($183 million) with an installed capacity of 372 MW. 

NERSA said it is concerned about the high number of registered facilities not coupled with storage, saying it further deepens the California Duck Curve. Named as it resembles a duck on a graph, the US Department of Energy (DOE) describes the California Duck Curve as showing the difference in electricity demand and the amount of solar energy available throughout the day. Without storage, some of it may not be used. 

Nhlanhla Gumede of NERSA believes there is a ‘critical need’ for registration applications for generation facilities of variable energy sources to be coupled with battery storage. 

In the previous quarter, Q2/FY 2023, the story was similar with 92 facilities out of 98 registered represented 647 MW of solar PV capacity, followed by 2 solar PV with BESS projects. Additionally, there were 2 wind projects with 202 MW and 2 co-generation facilities with 58 MW capacity were also registered. 

Since 2018, NERSA has now registered a total of 1,087 generation facilities in the country. 

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Senior News Editor: Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. --Email : [email protected] --

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