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Harnessing the Power of Private Solar: A Key Player in Eskom’s Battle Against Load Shedding


In recent weeks, South Africa has experienced a notable reprieve from daytime load shedding, thanks to a consistent and robust contribution from private solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. This unexpected relief has prompted Eskom to suspend load shedding between 10 am and 4 pm for the remainder of the week. But how is it possible for load shedding to be halted during daylight hours when generation capacity remains a significant challenge for Eskom?

The Role of Private-Sector Solar:

Eskom estimates that it has access to 5,200MW of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) capacity. By calculating the normalized demand in an area with solar installations, Eskom can determine the demand foregone during daylight hours. As of Wednesday, there’s a practical guarantee of at least a 1,000MW divergence between pre-sunrise supply and later in the day. This has been an ongoing practice, leading to a reduced level of load shedding during daytime hours.

Solar PV’s Impact on Load Shedding:

In recent days, solar PV has consistently generated over 1,300MW from 9 am, as per contracts with Eskom. This substantial contribution has enabled Eskom to suspend load shedding even when facing a generation shortfall of around 1,000MW. Eskom’s confidence in private solar power has grown, especially considering the over 5,000MW of solar PV installed and commissioned across the country.

Wind Power’s Contribution:

Besides solar, Eskom is also benefiting from the substantial contribution of Independent Power Producer (IPP) wind farms, particularly during the evenings. These wind farms can produce between 1,000MW to well over 2,000MW, further alleviating the pressure on Eskom’s generation capacity. Eskom cites an all-time peak contribution of 3,442.6MW from its contracted IPPs and the Sere wind farm.

Challenges and Uncertainties:

Despite these positive developments, Eskom remains cautious about load shedding forecasts. The utility company has been consistently forecasting Stage 2 load shedding (a 2,000MW generation capacity shortfall) since September the previous year. Until January 2025, Eskom anticipates a continued risk of being at least 2,000MW short of meeting demand. The uncertainty is compounded by the possibility of more than 20,000MW of generation capacity being out of commission due to maintenance and breakdowns.


As Eskom grapples with the complexities of managing load shedding, private solar and wind power are emerging as crucial allies in the battle against electricity shortages. The significant contribution from solar PV during daylight hours and the consistent output from wind farms are providing much-needed relief. It appears that Eskom is increasingly relying on these renewable energy sources to mitigate the severity of load shedding, underscoring the importance of transitioning to cleaner and more sustainable power solutions.

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