Individuals could boost national power grid

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Petrus Muronga

Windhoek-The City of Windhoek (CoW) will implement the Net Metering rules to all residents using photovoltaic (PV) solar systems to power their homes with electricity as from 1 July this year.

The municipality’s public relations officer, Lydia Amutenya said residents were therefore required to register with the City as from yesterday.

Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.

Addressing the media at a press briefing on Tuesday, Amutenya said the registration would take place with the office of the chief technical inspector at the department of electricity.

This follows the gazetting of the net metering rules in November last year.
Amutenya said there might be other grid connected PV solar installations, within the municipality’s electricity network, that were not yet registered with the City.

‘‘Those installations may not be fully compliant with the requirements of the Net Metering rules as they are not inspected and will not be considered during the implementation stage,’’ Amutenya explained.

This is the first of many anticipated policy interventions where consumers will receive payment for the power they feed into the national grid.

Residents who register will be credited at a rate of N$ 1.13 per kilowatt-hour of electricity fed into the City’s grid, the Bill says.

Amutenya said the city has a database of all its customers that have registered their grid connected PV solar installations and have a correct bi-directional electricity meter installed that enables the municipality to implement the rules as gazetted.

Net Metering is also how renewable energy generators below 500 kilowatts connected to a public-utility power grid will be measured and transferred onto the grid, giving the customer room to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility.

Right now, 151 residents in total have registered their PV solar system with the City.
Seventy-six (76) of them are for domestic customers; thirty-two (32) small medium enterprises while forty-three (43) are industrial clients or manufacturing companies.

Speaking at the same occasion chief engineer assistant in the department of electricity Petrus Johannes said customers would be credited with the equivalent of what they take from the City’s grid.

He explained that if a customer uses a certain amount of power from the City, they are expected to pay for that amount of power. However, the power that a customer exports into the grid must be less or equal to the power utilised.

For clarity, if it costs the City N$ 1.13 per kilowatt to buy electricity from NamPower at any given time of day, then the municipality will value the customer generated energy fed into the City’s grid at N$1.13 per kilowatt hour.

At the end of each financial period, the utilities will reconcile all the accounts and reset to zero.

In addition, the Act sets out rules imposing limits to protect the current electrical infrastructure such as power transmission lines from being overloaded.

Meters for net-metered installations will measure electricity fed in and out of two separate measuring unit registers.

Currently, the electrical infrastructure does not allow for an Independent Power Producer (IPP) circuit-breaker meter rating that exceeds 500 kilovolt-amps (kVA).

The exercise aims to increase power generation into the grid without increasing the investment requirements of licensees and independent power producers.

It will allow customers to minimise the imports from distribution networks by generating for personal consumption as well promote sustainable energy development and employment creation.

Namibia currently imports over 60 percent of its power from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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