Roof-top solar provision, the easiest PPP to enter
By Freeman Ngulu.
16 December 2016. – Light Systems Namibia, a renewable energy company boasts that households and companies can at the minimum take back 10% to 20% of their electricity bill with the new net metering rules for solar roof-tops.
Following the announcement from the Electricity Control Board CEO, Foibe Namene, this week that the gazetted rules for feeding back electricity into the main electricity supply are likely to be passed in the next year.
Light Systems Namibia’s Co-founder, Lyndon Elliott foresees that 99% of home users using those accumulated credits within the same day if not the same week, can reduce their bills without any impact on the electricity service they receive.
“As of March last year, most newly built houses have been installed with bi-directional meters that allow the City of Windhoek to tally up the electricity feed back in to the main grid,”he said, adding that although this excludes pre-paid meters, the technology allows for greater expansion of solar technology to power homes and businesses.
According to Elliott, the avoided cost of N$1.13 per kilowatt, about the amount of electricity it takes to boil a kettle of water, benefits both households and particularly businesses to meet their bottom line by adopting renewable energy.
“If a grocery store pays 3% of their revenue in electricity, they could easily invest in a solar installations then drop all their prices by 3%!,” Elliott said, adding on that this is a fairly easy to enter public-private partnership.
“This is the exact technology that will enable many to now reduce the amount of imported electricity by generating more than enough to cover their own needs and receiving credit for the excess that is exported,’” he added.
Meanwhile, meters for net metered installations are likely to measure electricity feed in and out in two separate measuring unit registers and comply with meter standards set for medium and low voltage electricity distribution.
According to the ECB’s Electricity Supply Industry Statistical Bulletin, domestic electricity customers in Central Namibia and the Erongo Region have the highest average monthly bill consistently, followed by customers supplied by Oshakati Premier Electric.
This bulletin sees this as an indication that the IPP’s with the highest chance of success, will be located in these areas to reduce transmission loss of electrical energy over long distances.
The new net metering rules also propose that distribution licensees must connect net metering consumers in its distribution license area on a first-come first-serve principle until the limits on power generation are decided on later.
Conditions set out for net metering specify that generation systems must also be warranted by the manufacturer to shut down or disconnect upon loss of licensee power. This according to a local Economist is to prevent the whole national grid from switching off as seen with a national scare after the Aries/Kokkerboom 400 kV transmission line trip, the main line that feeds power from South African electricity utility company, ESKOM, to Namibia.
Furthermore, the bulletin said, distribution licensees are not allowed to estimate the electricity consumed and generated by net metered customer-generators during any billing period. The meters of net metered customer-generators are only to be read by distribution licensees for every billing period.