15 March 2007
South Africa, through public energy company CEF, has launched a six-month pilot project to introduce solar water heating in middle- to upper-income homes as the country seeks to exploit one of its most abundant resources – sunshine.
The project, launched on 5 March, aims to create awareness and remove market barriers to solar technology in South Africa. Despite benefiting from solar radiation levels that are among the highest in the world, the country has yet to embrace solar technologies.
The project is offering incentives to install SABS-approved solar water heating systems to 500 households in the Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces.
Approved service providers will supply and install 200-litre and 300-litre solar heating geysers in about 167 homes in each province. Residents can apply for the geysers through any of four approved manufacturers – Solardome SA, Solahart Southern Africa, Atlantic Solar and Solar Heat Exchangers – and the earlier a household signs on, the better their incentive will be.
“At this stage, the cost of a geyser ranges between R10 000 and R20 000, and the incentive is R5 000 for the first month or the first 200 systems, R4 000 for the second month or the next 200 systems and R3 000 for the next month or the last 100 systems,” said Nadia Moosa, project manager at the Energy Development Corporation, a division of CEF.
Moosa said the newly installed systems would be monitored and measured for effectiveness. CEF has established national standards for solar heating products and their installation and set up a testing laboratory to protect consumers from shoddy systems and unscrupulous operators.
“The intention is to inspire confidence in an energy source that is fast becoming the first choice in a world striving to support clean fuels.”
CEF has partnered on the project with the Department of Minerals and Energy, the Department of Science and Technology, the United Nations Development Programme and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).
CEF is involved in the search for solutions to meet the future energy needs of South Africa, the Southern African Development Community and the sub-Saharan African region, including oil, gas, electrical power, solar energy, low-smoke fuels, biomass, wind and renewable energy sources.
It also manages the operation and development of the oil and gas assets and operations of the South African government.