DA announces the Solar Access Bill

Issued by Kevin Mileham MP – DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
21 Feb 2023 in News

As loadshedding continues to worsen, South Africans are looking for ways to shield themselves and their businesses from the worst effects of this electricity crisis. This has resulted in a widespread movement to install residential solar panels across South Africa.

The DA-led City of Cape Town has already announced innovative plans to encourage the adoption of solar panels in the City. In a groundbreaking move, the City has proactively sought and been granted an exemption from National Treasury from ordinary procurement rules, that will allow it to pay businesses and residents cash for selling their excess electricity back into the grid.

The City has also announced that it will be paying an additional incentive tariff on top of the NERSA approved feed-in tariff so as to further encourage the feeding of electricity back into the grid.

Proposals like these will encourage households to increasingly reduce their reliance on the grid, thereby helping to alleviate loadshedding in the City.

The DA now wishes to bring these solutions, and more, to all South Africans through our proposed Solar Access Bill – now under active development.

The proposed aims of the Bill include the following:

  • Mandating that NERSA must establish a fair compensation scheme for feed-in tariffs across the country – by establishing a minimum percentage level of compensation to be paid to a consumer in relation to the ordinary electricity tariff. This is to ensure that feed-in tariffs are not unfairly lower than the ordinary tariff rate;
  • Investigate the waiving of all ‘net consumer’ policies, through a blanket requirement that credit or tariff offsets must be provided when a solar panel user feeds more electricity into the grid than they consume. This will be done in accordance with the provisions of Section 217 of the Constitution; and
  • Require that municipalities must provide and/or facilitate bi-directional meters for feed in tariffs, thereby allowing more consumers to feed electricity generated from rooftop solar back into the grid.

These proposed aims of the Bill will immediately unlock the potential of the private sector and help contribute towards alleviating the electricity shortage on South Africa’s grid.

The DA requests comments and suggestions from the public on the proposed aims of the Bill at legislation@da.org.za by 31 March 2023.

Further details on the Solar Access Bill will be announced in due course.