Cape Town’s property sector is raring to sign up to the City’s cash-for-power deal

The roof of a commercial building in Pinelands was fitted with solar panels. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

The roof of a commercial building in Pinelands was fitted with solar panels. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 1, 2023


Cape Town - Cape Town’s commercial, industrial and retail property sectors have said they have the budget and the roof space available to be net energy contributors to the City’s cash-for-power deal in which businesses and eventually residents will be able to earn money from the sale of power fed into the local electricity grid.

Lew Geffen Sotheby’s commercial property chief operating officer Brent Townes said with the ongoing industrial expansion along the N7 corridor and up the West Coast as far as Saldanha, there were many new developments of substantial structures such as warehouses which perfectly lent themselves to solar power generation.

Townes said: “Many of these property owners not only have the budget but also the roof space available to be net energy contributors and could therefore potentially benefit from the new scheme.”

He said that the capitalisation rates in Cape Town traditionally run a little lower than the national average in the property sector, and this widening of value is also likely to increase with investors who own suitable properties seeing a healthy capital appreciation.

“Property valuations should therefore also increase as a property with the potential for self-generated energy as well as an additional income stream will surely impact its value.”

He said this would need to be factored into the valuation process in much the same way signage and cellphone tower income has been.

One of the first major commercial properties in Cape Town to go solar was the V&A Waterfront, which first installed a massive solar energy “farm” on its many rooftops back in 2015.

Yesterday, spokesperson Donald Kau said: “The Waterfront is supportive of the City’s initiative. At this stage, its current energy capacity, including solar, is servicing the needs of tenants and commercial clients to help continue trading, especially during load shedding.

“At a point where there would be excess available we would certainly participate in the scheme.”

Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF) chairperson Deon van Zyl said his members were thrilled by the deal.

“We are very excited that the Treasury is in support of the City’s intention to purchase electricity from private suppliers without having to go through onerous tender and procurement procedures.”

Van Zyl said the Treasury’s decision was a small and most welcome step in the right direction toward empowering all spheres of the government to deal with the real challenge of service delivery.

The City has meanwhile published a list of approved inverters and equipment on its website.

In an interview on Heart Breakfast, mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the City recommends that consumers stick with the accredited products to avoid problems further down the line.

“We hear from insurance companies, for example, that they are dealing with a number of claims around equipment that is turning out not to be safe. So we encourage people to stick with the accredited equipment,” Hill-Lewis said.

To find the list, Hill-Lewis said consumers should visit the City’s website and type in “SSEG” (small-scale embedded generation).

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