While electricity intensive industries and businesses are in for some tough days ahead in South Africa, investors could take advantage of their existing renewable energy infrastructure to sell power to Eskom, Fedgroup CEO Grant Field has said.
Eskom executives and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan have undertaken to brief the country regularly on the state of the national power grid’s stability since stage for load shedding was introduced in March.
Fedgroup has suggested its solar panel scheme as a solution for investors. The Impact Farming investment option, launched in August 2018, allows investors to buy solar panels for R5 000 per unit and earn monthly returns.
The scheme saw its solar panel stocks sold out by February this year, with 20 000 solar panels installed on the roofs of commercial buildings around the country to date.
Field said South Africans could benefit from the current electricity crisis. He said renewable energy projects could be executed successfully, and investors can earn money by selling back electricity into the power grid.
"In Port Elizabeth, Fedgroup has an agreement for the power produced to feed into the national grid, allowing investors to earn monthly returns that depend largely on the price of electricity set by the national regulator," Field said.
Field believes sectors such as mining and manufacturing will be hardest hit by government’s planned carbon tax if there is no tangible progress in terms of renewable energy projects.
"Unfortunately, government’s plan to harness renewable energy, which includes the introduction of a carbon tax later this year, has raised concerns about the adverse effect on electricity-intensive sectors in the economy," said Field.
In the rest of the country, power is fed to the buildings where the panels are installed.
"This means that, at a time when South Africans are fed up with the continuing power crisis, individuals can become independent power producers and can even benefit financially from higher electricity tariffs in cases where power is sold back into the grid," Field said.
Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni introduced a revised version of the Carbon Tax Bill in March.