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ECB to regulate solar energy use

Fri, 10 February 2017 23:22
by Rodney Pienaar
News Flash

The Electricity Control Board of Namibia (ECB) has put measures in place to start regulating the installation and use of solar energy effective from May this year.

The manager of economic regulations, Pinehas Mutota, said this is because of the growing market. Mutota said all renewable energy technologies are eligible for net metering including geothermal, biomass, biogas, and biofuel or fuel cell resources the ECB said. He told The Villager that a growing number of customers are looking for alternative energy supply because to low cost and favourable environment.

“What we have noted is that a lot of customers are installing rooftop solar for electricity consumption to help reduce costs of buying electricity they are getting from distributors such as the municipalities and regional electricity distributors.

“That is why we have put rules in place called the net metering rules, for example if City of Windhoek sell you hundred units of electricity and you are able to send from what you have generated 20 units to the City of Windhoek meaning that from the hundred units you are left with eighty meaning that you are built for eighty units,” Mutota said.

He added that there will not be too much of impact on the electricity distributors in the country. One of the major objective of net metering is the generation of additional power into the national grid; reducing the investment requirements of licenses and conventional independence power producers and to allow customers. On-site generation capacity of each metered facilities must not exceed the lower of the main electricity supply circuit breaker current rating converted to KVA of the facility which may not exceed 500KVA.

The aggregate generation capacity of net metered facilities in the particular licence area must be determined by the distribution licence in accordance with the electrical infrastructure equipment ratings. The Villager understands that the scale of SPV installations referred to as installed by corporate companies is generally only to offset the specific company’s energy consumption during the day. However, ECB could not provide figures on the number of Namibians and business that currently installed roof top solar panels for electricity generation.

The Villager recently reported that some corporate companies are install ing Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) to lessen the burden from NamPower. Installation of SPV will change electricity distribution as the traditional consumer could also become a producer of energy. Future planning will need to include the digitisation of user’s points and network in order to successfully harness, protect and control the flow of energy to meet demand in a secure, reliable and stable grid