Johannesburg - Enel Green Power SpA, the renewable energy unit of Italy’s biggest utility, is rolling out a version of Tesla’s home-power kit to help South African retail customers buffer against rising electricity prices and grid outages.
With South African power tariffs set to rise 9.4 percent this year, Tesla’s battery systems could become more attractive to customers seeking to reliably store self-generated renewable energy at home, said Enel Green Power Chief Executive Officer Francesco Venturini in a phone interview. Power outages plagued the country’s grid on average about every fourth day last year.
“Now that the prices are going up, people are going to look at entirely different solutions,” Venturini said. “There is a section of the population that can afford to buy backup power for the house,” specifically in Cape Town, where the pilot project has begun, he said.
Enel entered the power market in Africa’s most industrialised nation in 2012, bidding for commercial-scale renewable projects of as much as 150 megawatts. A subsequent shortage of electricity resulted in managed blackouts in the country on about 100 days last year. Rapidly rising power prices and the development of Tesla’s battery pushed the Rome-based company to pursue retail business.