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Embedded generation (“EG”) refers to the onsite generation and supply of electricity primarily for internal own use. An embedded generation facilities is allowed to connect the facilities load to the power grid (distribution system) for additional and/or backup electricity supply.
South Africa’s Electricity Regulation Act (ERA) after consulting with the National Energy Regulator has agreed to exempt embedded power generation projects with a capacity of up to 100MW from the need to obtain a generation licence, coming into force with effect from 13th August 2021.
Grid tied system
A Grid tied system synchronises with the local electrical infrastructure to supply electricity to the premises or grid that it is connected to. A typical grid tied system in South Africa is connected on the consumer side of the municipal/utility grid to offset electricity consumption from the municipality/utility, i.e. reduce consumption from the grid. Under NERSA regulations all PV systems which synchronise with the South African grid must comply with NRS-097 regulations.
This compliance covers, but is not limited to, the following:
- Inverter output electricity must be the same as the Eskom/municipal voltage & frequency but within 10% of the defined Grid Code parameters.
- In the event of a power failure or intentional power outage, the inverter must disconnect from the grid for safety reasons. During this time the PV system will not generate any electricity.
Load shifting or Peak shaving
Grid-tied PV with generator integration
The average diesel generator has a diesel to electricity conversion efficiency of 35% which is approximately 4kWh per litre of diesel. At R19,32/ℓ of diesel (03.11.2021) the average cost of electricity from a diesel generator is R4,76/kWh.
Depending on the type of generator, PV-Diesel integration is not always beneficial and sometimes limited but nevertheless worth exploring given the frequency of load shedding and unplanned power outages.
Hybrid energy systems
- Generator integration
- Emergency Power supply (with or without generator backup)
- Export control
- Individual energy consumer management (e.g. geyser, fridge)
- Intelligent and programmable battery charge/discharge
- Access controlled electric vehicle charging, selectively integrated with premises energy management or on-demand.