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About RECs

Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) activity in RSA started in 2002 during the Johannesburg-based World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which was one of the first international summits to have used green power for the electricity used for the summit through purchase of RECs.

Following the WSSD, a voluntary market participant association, Renewable Energy Certificates South Africa (RECSA), was set up in the year 2005 by founding trustees, and RECS international members, GreenX Energy and Amatola Green Power. RECSA acts as the coordinator of RECs in RSA. zaRECs has been appointed as the interim issuing body for the issuing and administration of RECs in RSA. The feasibility study carried out by the Department of Energy (DoE) recommended a South African Issuing Body to be set up based on the experience of the general and robust framework of the Basic Commitment as amended by the Principles and Rules of Operation (PRO) of the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) of Europe.  Administration costs are in the order of 1% for average retail priced, low volume transactions.

Although purchase of renewable energy attributes as a commodity is currently voluntary, the national renewable energy certificate system could underpin any mandatory mechanism or production-based support scheme such as the Renewable Energy Feed-in tariffs (REFIT) currently under discussion by NERSA, the Energy Regulator for RSA. The system would also enable much needed monitoring of renewable energy progress and the evaluation and refinement of measures and actions to encourage its uptake.  Renewable Energy generators are utilising production declaration templates for data submission to the National Treasury Non-Renewable Energy Levy compliance process and exemption purposes.  Once implemented this essentially sets a base market price at R25/MWh.  RECs trading in the voluntary market do so at between 2 to 150 times this level dependent on volumes, technology and CSI, SED and ED characteristics of the RES-E device.  Rural Solar Home System (PV-based) utilities currently attract the highest premium. 

The DoE with support from the UNDP has undertaken preparatory work in terms of developing the Business Plan and Domain Protocol for constitution of the Issuing Body for RSA.