[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Eskom greens geysers - but for the poor?
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Dec 23 08:18:55 GMT 2007
Dec 22 2007 11:13PM
Eskom goes green with solar heaters
Don Robertson Published:Dec 16, 2007
Eskom has set aside R2-billion to subsidise the installation of solar
water heaters in an effort to reduce the electricity-guzzling electric
heaters used in most homes.
Andrew Etzinger, general manager of Eskom’s Demand Side Management Fund,
said that a facilitator, auditing firm Deloitte, had been appointed. The
scheme is expected to be introduced early next year.
All solar heaters have to meet SA Bureau of Standards (SABS)
requirements and the efficiency of the heater and all approved solar
heater suppliers will be identified. The level of the subsidy will be
based on how much electricity will be saved using the solar water heater.
Heater suppliers will be paid the subsidy — which will be used to reduce
the cost of the heater — and Deloitte will establish that the solar
heater was installed, said Etzinger.
Initially, the target market for the fund will be in the
middle-to-higher- income groups, but a second scheme is being developed
to make the plan more affordable to those in the lower- income group.
The plan is to roll out 900000 solar water heaters in the next five
years of which about 100000 will be placed in the Nelson Mandela Bay
It is also hoped to get a similar subsidy from some municipalities, said
John Ledger, a conservationist and an associate professor on energy at
the University of the Witwatersrand.
Ledger trades as Gauteng Solar Solutions and represents On-Sun solar
water heaters, which are manufactured in the Free State.
A 150-litre solar heater, under good conditions, will generate at least
2000 kilowatt hours of energy from the sun every year. Also available
are 300-litre heaters.
There have been very few solar water heater suppliers in the past and
some that were imported from China could not be repaired if they broke
down. There were also a lot of “fly-by- night” suppliers that entered
the market as there was no SABS certification.
At the beginning of the year there were only 12 members of the
Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa, but the number has since
grown to 60, including those from Australia, France and Germany.
Solar heaters cost between R8000 for a 150-litre unit to R24000 for a
300- litre heater, but the Eskom subsidy will be deducted from these prices.
A solar heater is placed on the roof of the building and a 150-litre
heater measures about 2m² and weighs 90 kilos. It may be installed as a
stand- alone water heater with a built-in electric heating element for
overcast days, or it can be used as a pre-heater for the electric geyser
which will supply it with hot water instead of cold, said Ledger.
Municipalities increase their electricity prices every year — often at
rates higher than inflation — while Eskom has applied for an 18%
increase in prices for 2008.
Ledger is also a member of the International Solar Energy Society and is
chairman of the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa.
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