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Govt Working On Net Metering For ZESA, But What Is It?

Minister of Energy and Power Development tweeted earlier today about net metering for ZESA in an open dialogue where he asked for public opinion on the matter.

Net metering is a pretty technical term that a great many are not too familiar with. So what is it anyway?

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What Is Net Metering?

Net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to sell the electricity they aren’t using back into the grid. You are only charged/paid for Net electricity used/fed back into the grid.

This means if you have a solar system that you are using for backup power, you can sell the excess to ZESA in cases for example when you are not at home and no power is being used at your home or it’s a time in the day when very few appliances are running.

Did This Not Exist In Zimbabwe?

SI 86 of 2018 is the current legislation that is available for Net Metering that classifies candidates for this service either being a Residential Premise or a Commercial Premise.

Requirements for one to be eligible for this service are:

  • Power generated should not exceed limits of the premises’ circuit breaker for residential premise
  • For industrial or commercial premise, generated power should not exceed 100KW

From there you apply for a licence and the authority, which in this case ZESA, would assess the premise and if technical specifications are met. If they are, the licence is approved by the authority and you are in business.

The Electricity Situation In Zimbabwe

There are a couple of videos we made explaining the current electricity situation in Zimbabwe. It’s noteworthy to mention that electricity production is far below the demand and this has forced many household to have alternative sources of power such as diesel generators and solar backup systems.

Some companies are now seeing it as a viable investment to put up solar systems at their premises. Being able to back-feed power into the grid mean less electricity imports and saving the precious forex for other pressing expenditures.

To the customer this translates to a reduced electricity bill without a reduction in electricity supply. It’s a proper win-win.

One can only hope that the discussion materializes into something viable for both our power utility and the customers it serves.

Watch: Zimbabwe’s Electricity Situation Part 1
Zimbabwe’s Electricity Situation Part 2


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14 thoughts on “Govt Working On Net Metering For ZESA, But What Is It?

  1. Ah! This is the problem of watching too much youtube! I just took it for granted that this was already a thing!

  2. Won’t you come later saying that those with solar must pay the gvt on monthly basis as we heard from rumours.is this not a strategy to bring to book those that are using solar power?

    1. Could be true as those with boreholes seem to pay some annual license of some sort as if I am not mistaken, all water is said to legally belong to the State for teh public good. The paying of annual lincense fees seems propwer for those commercial water sellers, but for domestic water consumers, this may not be right. I hope ZERA will not ask for an energy generating license for one’s Solar Farm, but they seem to ask the same for those with huge generators. A certain mine recently announced taht it has installed enough energy generating capacity that it will voluntarily disconnect itself from teh national grid..

  3. Noble idea. Many countries in Europe are already using this net-metering concept, eg Germany! But how will feeding back into the national grid occur if their are power cuts and cable faults, as while the energy is generated, it will be fed into the grid, but only to the point of the load shedding circuits or power fault and in an environment of load shedding and cable faults, will the excess power fed back into the system go far especially if the generated energy isn’t that much e.g. 225V by a domestic user? This seems insufficient to power nearby houses and will only lead to brownouts?

    1. This is a good point but manufacturers of grid tie systems have thought of this.
      Grid tie systems require there to be power on the Zesa side before it will send power back to the grid. It’s not like plugging a generator to power your house, grid tie requires synchronising of frequency, voltage and more importantly phase rotation.
      If implemented by a competent professional I will help alot with load shedding as we will receive substantial power from the many home solar users. The faults will be an issue though but at those times systems will simply not backfeed to the grid as there will be nothing to synchronise with.

      1. In your article you just left out the fact that the consumer feeding ekectricity into the ZESA grid, will not actually get paid for it, but will just be credited by ZESA and then the credits will be used up when that consumer draws electric power from the ZESA grid

  4. Interesting and a great relief, thank you Honourable! My review comments
    1.Net metering connected prosumers are able to generate power for either their local use or export to grid only when the interface grids are live , a case to avoid grid electrocution risks.For this to effectively work , certain targeted communities such as hospitals and other essential service providers should be on dedicated power lines, meaning no load shedding, otherwise a local grid which comes at an extra cost will be required for any prosumer subjected to load shedding.
    2. The idea of limiting capacity should be based on local network capacity and not on individual household analysis, grid constraints are a function of district zoning.Let’s have those with financial muscles add more needed energy to the grid until a certain district power requirement threshold .
    3.The benefits of net metering which includes avoided energy costs due to time of use tariff matrix,maximum demand shaving and cost of sales need be made very clear on the new policy,thus effective public awareness.

    Otherwise it is a very noble energy strategy model!

  5. How far have you gone prosecuting the Wicknell guy ………Econet have put up their 100km solar project and they did not have to rob the country in the process ….

    1. Well said, John! My understanding, after reading ZESA’s “offer”, is that you, yes you, the supplier have to fork out for the meter, cabling and other bits, so your excess electricity is fed back to the grid! After that, you receive some “unit credit”. I don’t think there’ll be a long queue of applicants somehow… :-p

    1. Hiya Vikas!
      The following is the best “understanding” of their offer: You complete a form, pay an application fee, (yes, they’ve already had a go at your money), so as to fit a “smart meter”, to measure the amount of electricity you send to the grid. After that, they credit “units” (i.e. Kwh), which you feed into the grid, and that gets knocked off the amount you owe them, for any electricity zesa supplies you. About the only sensible thing in this, is that units your solar system feeds into the grid, is deducted from the number of units of zesa power you use, which reduces the amount you owe them. There is no mention anywhere in their offer of them helping to maintain the system, so if something goes wrong with your solar set-up, that’s your problem, not theirs! Basically, they’re battling to find forex for power imports, so need to raid whatever they can from wherever they can! They’ve done little to no expansion / upgrades on places like Kariba, Hwange etc and other things (transformers, cables etc), for years! My thoughts: Steer clear, if you have some sort of solar power in your home and it’s adequate for your needs.

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