The solar rebate for South African homeowners and businesses ends in a few weeks, with the National Treasury unlikely to extend its deadline.

Following the intensification of load shedding in 2022, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced an individual tax break in the 2023 Budget, offering R15,000 rebates for individuals looking to install solar. This only applies to purchasing new solar panels, not inverters, batteries, and other costs.

However, the renewable energy tax breaks for businesses also apply to these other component costs as long as they are part of a solar generation system.

Although batteries and inverters can be used on their own to provide a private benefit to a particular household, the addition of solar panels increases generation supply, which is seen as a public benefit in the face of load shedding.

Over the last year, this public benefit has been clear, with South African households and businesses mainly responsible for reducing the intensity of load shedding as Eskom has made minimal improvements with its generation fleet.

As reported by MyBroadband, Eskom’s own calculations showed that rooftop solar’s contribution had increased from 2,265 MW in July 2022 to 5,204 MW in December 2023.

This means that South Africans have dropped their demand from Eskom by roughly three stages of load shedding.

Not going to last

However, the rebate only applies to households from 1 March 2023 to 29 February 2024, meaning that South African consumers have less than three weeks to use the rebate.

On the other hand, businesses have an extra year, with a deadline of 28 February 2025.

Phillip Joubert from the SAIPA Centre of Tax Excellence said that it is unlikely that the Treasury will extend the rebate for households into the upcoming financial year.

After publishing various Tax Laws Amendment Bills, the Treasury held a series of public consultations, with the contrast between the household and business deadlines hotly contested.

“During these consultations and hearings, the Treasury remained steadfast in its position, indicating no willingness to alter the duration of this incentive,” Joubert said.