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Cape Town opens Cash for Power residential applications

Cape Town has become the first city to enable residential households to earn cash for power from their solar PV generation systems. Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced that a first round of applications is open until 8 March for households to earn actual cash from selling their excess solar power to the City, going beyond the existing automatic crediting of municipal bills. Hill-Lewis was speaking at the launch of the City’s Energy Strategy at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 12 February. The strategy sets out a roadmap to 2050, including short-term plans to protect against the first four stages of Eskom load-shedding by 2026.

‘Today Cape Town becomes the first city with a formally adopted Energy Strategy, which clearly outlines how we plan to end load-shedding, as the most important action we can take for job-creating economic growth.


‘In the short-term, we are planning for four stages of load-shedding protection by 2026, as we make the great transition from unreliable, costly and fossil fuel based Eskom energy, to an increasingly decentralised supply of reliable, cost-effective, carbon neutral energy from a diverse range of suppliers.


‘In Cape Town, the most exciting part is that residents and businesses are going to play a crucial role in helping us to end load-shedding by working together as Team Cape Town. We will buy as much solar power as households and businesses can sell to us under the Cash for Power programme. Households can also volunteer for our Power Heroes programme to remotely switch off geysers at peak times in a bid to avoid a full stage of load-shedding. And in another first, we are enabling businesses to sell power to each other and wheel it across the grid, which will add 350MW of decentralised power to Cape Town’s grid in time,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.


Hill-Lewis further noted that President Ramaphosa had made a number of commitments and promises in his final SONA around energy and ending South Africa’s 17-year-old load-shedding crisis.  


‘The President ended his speech in the same way he ended the previous six – by vowing that the worst of load-shedding is behind us.


‘The fact is that load-shedding has gotten considerably worse after every such promise, and already we have re-entered stage six. It should be obvious to all by now that we cannot wait for the same people who created the crisis, to fix it. We must do so ourselves,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.


Short-term load-shedding mitigation up to 2026 will be achieved largely through a mix of Steenbras Hydro Plant (1 – 2 stages); 500MW of dispatchable energy (up to four stages from 06:00 – 22:00 daily where possible); and demand management programmes such as Power Heroes and Large Power Users (LPUs) curtailment.


Overall, Cape Town is planning to add up to one gigawatt of independent power supply to end load-shedding in the city over time, with the first 650MW of this within five years, including enough to protect against four Eskom load-shedding stages by 2026.


Power supply diversification initiatives snapshot:

·       Demand management programmes:

a)   UNDER WAY: Large Power Users (LPUs) curtailment

b)   NEWLY LAUNCHED: Power Heroes: a voluntary programme for households and small commercial customers that enables remote switching of power-hungry appliances such as geysers and pool pumps.

·       NEW: IPP 3 tender issued: The total capacities envisaged 300 MW of dispatchable/ reserve power capacity and 200 MW of self-dispatchable power capacity. The contract period is three years, and is subject to a Section 33 process and the closing date for tender submissions is 8 April 2024.

·       UNDER WAY: Embedded IPP renewable energy (200MW) – with the goal to diversify electricity suppliers for more cost-effective electricity

·       UNDER WAY: Dispatchable IPP Programme (up to 500MW) – a key load-shedding mitigation mechanism, with 10-year power contracts for dispatchable power plants

·       UNDER WAY: Wheeling (up to 350MW) – a City-enabled means of third parties selling electricity to each other using existing grid infrastructure

·       DONE: Private Small-Scale Embedded Generation (up to 100 MW) mechanism – Residential and commercial customers are enabled to generate electricity for their own use and be credited for excess generation

·       UNDER WAY: City-owned SSEG (up to 20MW) from the Atlantis plant (7MW) and solar PV at City facilities (13MW)


Three strategic commitments


‘Our strategy is grounded in three key commitments: to end load-shedding, alleviate energy poverty, and optimise energy use across Cape Town. This will be backed by a future-fit municipal electricity service, proactive electricity infrastructure upgrades, and support for residents to seize opportunities in the changing energy market as we build the city of hope for all in line with our long-term vision,’ said Councillor Beverley van Reenen, Mayoral Committee Member for Energy.


Alleviating energy poverty goals to be achieved within the next five years include:


·       Upholding the high electrification rate of informal settlements where permissible

·       Grid enhancements and subsidy reform

·       Investigating the implementation of  Free Basic Alternative Energy for non-grid connected informal households

·       Piloting alternative public lighting solutions for unelectrified settlements


Short-term plans to optimise energy use across Cape Town include:


·       Municipal Services Energy Efficiency programme

·       Energy performance baseline for all privately-owned buildings

·       Micro-developer support to build efficient, affordable, rental accommodation

·       Commercial and residential demand management programmes

·       Supporting the uptake of electric vehicles


How to apply to get Cash for Power


‘The City is excited to announce that this Cash for Power is now being offered to existing residential customers, with applications now open until 8 March. It is important to note that customers wishing to only offset their electricity and rates accounts, do not need to apply and will automatically be compensated on authorisation of their grid-tied SSEG system with feed-in. If customers are interested to go above and beyond this, they can register and get cash for their power – where any remaining credit will accumulate until it reaches a certain amount and then the City will pay you out,’ said Councillor Van Reenen.


Cash for Power applications are open for all residential customers on the home user tariff with an approved grid-tied SSEG system and bi-directional AMI meter to feed power back into the grid. For more information, visit:


Interested parties are required to first be registered as a service provider on both the City Supplier Database and the National Treasury Web Based Central Supplier Database (CSD), accessible from the links below:


City of Cape Town’s Supplier Database registration:

National Treasury Web Based Central Supplier Database (CSD) registration:


Cash for Power applications for this round should be submitted to by 8 March 2024.


Any submissions received after this date will be kept for the next round, with the date to be announced after this first round closes on 8 March 2024.


As per Supply Chain rules, successful Cash for Power sellers will contract with the City for a period of three years after appointment.


View the Energy Strategy here: 


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