Eskom chairman Mpho Makwana made a unique request – he asked South Africans to prioritise installing solar on their roofs and use as little of Eskom’s products as possible.
Speaking to Business Day TV, Makwana said the Eskom board realises the urgency of restoring a stable electricity supply in South Africa.
He asked South Africans to be part of the solution by prioritising installing solar instead of spending money on other things.
“Those who can afford to install solar should ask themselves if they can delay buying that luxury car and install rooftop solar with that money instead,” he said.
“Drive that current car for a year or two more so that you can [use less Eskom electricity] and help relieve pressure [off the grid] and do your fair share.”
The Eskom chairman also urged businesses to prioritise installing rooftop solar at their corporate offices when planning their capital expenditure.
“It will go far to brightening our ability to add more megawatts to the South African grid,” Makwana said.
As part of their corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives, he also asked companies to club together and put solar on traffic lights to alleviate traffic congestion.
He said South African businesses and middle-income earners should do their part and invest in alternative energy solutions.
These investments will alleviate pressure on the grid, which in turn will leave more electricity for the poor, who cannot afford solar.
Tax breaks for installing solar
Makwana’s comments come only days after Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced tax breaks for businesses and households for investing in renewable electricity generation.
From 1 March, businesses will be able to reduce their taxable income by 125% of the cost of an investment in renewables.
There are no thresholds on the size of the projects, and the scheme will be available for two years.
For individual households, those “who install rooftop solar panels from 1 March 2023 will be able to claim a rebate of 25 per cent of the cost of the panels, up to a maximum of R15,000”. This is only available for one year.
The panels must be new or unused but may be in addition to an existing system. The rebate only applies to panels brought into first use after 1 March and before 29 February 2024.
Individuals who pay personal income tax can use this to decrease their tax liability in the 2023/24 tax year.
This rebate does not include the installation of generators, inverters, batteries, or installation costs. The rebate can only be claimed against the panels.