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Cape Town pioneers cash for electricity: Residents rewarded for surplus solar energy


Cape Town has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first city to enable residential households to earn actual cash for their excess solar power generation. Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced the initiation of the Cash for Power program, allowing residents to sell surplus solar power directly to the City for monetary compensation. This innovative approach goes beyond the conventional practice of crediting municipal bills automatically.


The announcement took place during the launch of the City’s Energy Strategy at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The strategy outlines a roadmap to 2050, focusing on short-term plans to mitigate the impact of load-shedding by 2026, offering a solution to the ongoing energy challenges faced by the city.


Mayor Hill-Lewis emphasized the active role of residents and businesses in ending load-shedding. The Cash for Power initiative encourages households to participate in selling solar power to the City, providing an opportunity for direct financial benefits. Additionally, residents can volunteer for the Power Heroes program, contributing to load-shedding prevention by remotely switching off geysers during peak times.


Cape Town’s innovative approach also extends to businesses, allowing them to sell power to each other and transfer it across the grid. This move is expected to add 350MW of decentralized power to Cape Town’s grid, marking a significant step toward energy self-sufficiency.


Hill-Lewis highlighted the city’s commitment to leveraging solar energy to shape a sustainable and decentralized energy supply. The strategy aims to add up to one gigawatt of independent power supply, with the initial 650MW planned within five years, providing protection against four stages of Eskom load-shedding by 2026.


The City’s Energy Strategy includes various initiatives such as the Steenbras Hydro Plant, dispatchable energy, and demand management programs like Power Heroes. The goal is to diversify power supply sources and enhance energy resilience. Cape Town’s strategy aligns with its commitment to end load-shedding, alleviate energy poverty, and optimize energy use across the city.


Residents can apply for the Cash for Power program until March 8, signaling a new era where individuals actively contribute to the city’s energy landscape while enjoying financial incentives for their solar contributions.

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