SSEG Made Simple

by | Feb 18, 2021 | 0 comments

Small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) has been piloted in the Western Cape for several years, and other provinces are following suit. As an extension, all solar Photovoltaic PV systems installed within the City of Cape Town electricity supply area, are to be registered for authorisation by the City. ESI- Africa posted a recent list https://www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/future-energy/latest-list-of-municipalities-with-approved-sseg-tariff-structures/.

There are system sizing regulations based on the main breaker size, safety regulations for connections and as a conclusion, certified individuals are required to sign it off.  A question often raised by end users, “does one have the ability to feed power back into grid?”. The answer is simple. Yes. Registering a feed-in system allows one to export excess electricity to the grid and receive credit based on the SSEG tariff.

Most of the power generated by an SSEG user is consumed on site, but there may be times when generation exceeds consumption, and typically a limited amount of power can flow onto the municipal electrical grid. This will form part of the application to apply for an AMI meter to be installed and the exported energy will be set off against the account. SSEG has several benefits over large, centralised power stations and is set to be a significant part of the future grid. One of the major advantages of such a system is that it can help reduce or eliminate the need for backup batteries that off-grid or grid-tied systems often include.

Electricity tariffs have increased by 300% in South Africa over the last 10 years. Given the current debt trap caused by new power plants, such as Medupi and Kusile, this rapid rate of increase is set to continue into the foreseeable future, unless André de Ruyter can pull a rabbit out the hat.

It is safe to say that South Africa has reached the point where electricity generated from new wind and solar power plants is currently 200% cheaper than electricity generated by dilapidated power plants. There will always be a need for coal or nuclear to cover the base load, but a perfect competition market with the ability of a fixed grid usage charge would be the utopia of the world.

Why do systems need to be registered? In short, we are faced with illegal connections, non-compliance, tampering and life endangerment of a City workers on power lines. A few non- profit organisations are assisting the regulation process and standard of installation happenings around South Africa. GreenCape has an SSEG resource pack as a reference guide on “how to handle and engage” with the City- https://www.greencape.co.za/content/small-scale-embedded-generation-sseg-resource-pack/.

SAPVIA cover a few electrical SSEG terminologies- https://www.sapvia.co.za/key-definitions-of-sseg/

There is no one single standard being utilized across South Africa. This highlights the importance in knowing how to engage with your local municipalities with whom you are applying to.

GreenSun is happy to handle or assist all those along the way on their SSEG journey!