23 January 2008
State energy company Eskom has invited South Africans to register on its website to get tips on reducing their energy consumption as well as incentives for using solar energy to power much of their household needs.
Customers are being encouraged to visit the site for more information on the incentive programme, how to size a system based on a household’s needs and the types of solar power systems from which to choose.
The programme aims to put South Africa’s plentiful sunshine to good use as a sustainable alternative to coal-generated electricity.
Eskom has also invited businesses who supply solar power equipment to take part in the programme.
Speaking to BuaNews on Tuesday, Eskom spokesperson Sibusiso Duma said that during Eskom’s 2007 facilitating programme, auditors had sent an expression of interest request to 80 solar power equipment suppliers.
Their responses to the call are currently being processed, and Duma said that the first suppliers would be registered within the next two weeks and an updated list of suppliers added to the website as soon as it became available.
“For a supplier to be registered on the programme, they have to comply with various criteria, such as financial and credit checks,” Duma said. “This is vital so that Eskom can ensure a quality product is supplied to residents by a reputable solar supplier.”
Solar water heating is already being used at Cosmo City, a major housing project north-west of Johannesburg. The solar geyser project at the mixed-housing development is the first of its kind in the city, and cost developers around R2-million – amounting to about R13 000 per unit, consisting of a geyser and a solar panel.
Though the solar heating units are not backed up by electricity because of a lack of funding and the limited power supply in those areas, users can expect water temperatures of 55 degrees Celsius and higher on sunny days.