Journal of Energy in Southern Africa
versión On-line ISSN 2413-3051
JAMAL, Noor. Options for the supply of electricity to rural homes in South Africa. J. energy South. Afr. [online]. 2015, vol.26, n.3, pp. 58-65. ISSN 2413-3051.
The residential sector in South Africa is being electrified by the South African government on a priority basis. For this purpose, both grid and off-grid electrification options are being used. As off-grid option, 50 Watt Solar Home Systems (SHS) is being provided to consumers in remote rural areas where grid connection is inaccessible. But the SHS of the mentioned size can hardly produce 0.3 to 0.4 kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity per day, even under the best solar conditions. This electric energy is substantially lesser than the Basic Electric Energy (BEE = 50 kWh per month), being utilized in the country free of cost by grid connected low income households. In this research work, efforts have been made to determine the most economical options in South Africa's rural areas with off-grid capacity equivalent to BEE. For analysis, off-grid/micro grid options have been compared not only with one another but also with grid connection. To incorporate renewable resources spatial variations, the work has been carried out at provincial level with the period 2014 to 2050. From analysis, it has been found that currently grid-connection is marginally better than off-grid options. But due to increasing grid connection cost and development in the off-grid technologies, the later with generation equivalent to BEE will be a more attractive option to electrify South African rural areas.
Palabras clave : South Africa; rural electrification; renewable energy.