Solar Water Installations Map
SWH RFRI
 
 
 

brief background
On 23 June 2009, the Minister of Energy in her budget vote speech stated that: “The Department will ensure that one million solar water heaters (SWHs) are installed in households and commercial buildings over a period of five years.” This bold executive statement is clearly indicative of the South African government’s steadfastness to pursue an energy mix that includes clean and renewable energy resources.

 
programme outline
The government’s solar water heating (SWH) programme currently underway is managed by Eskom – the “SWH Rebate Programme”. All information (requirements for participation) related to this programme is obtainable from www.eskom.co.za. Further a fiscus funded SWH programme through a Division of Revenue Act (DoRA) allocation is currently rolled out in various municipalities (City of Tshwane, Sol Plaatje and Naledi). The private sector is also not turning a blind eye on the government’s resolve to create a robust and self-supporting SWH industry. In this regard certain commercial banks, insurance companies, and benevolent donors are driving various SWH initiatives in different parts of the country. The key immediate barrier though to increased uptake is high upfront-capital cost of systems coupled with limited funding currently available. Realising this hindrance the Minister during her budget vote speech this year pronounced on a Standard Offer incentive scheme that will fund all Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management (EEDSM) interventions. This scheme is aimed at creating an expanded opportunity for attracting the much-needed sustainable financial stimulus into the programme. SWH is amongst the allowable technologies.

Through engagements with Eskom, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), and the Department of Energy (DoE) is fine-tuning a funding model to ensure that this tariff funded scheme is actualized. This will enable leveraging other funding sources from local and international financiers. To ensure a smooth transition into the new incentive scheme, a phase-in approach for the integration of the standard offer & rebate programmes will be adopted. This approach as well as timelines for its implementation is being worked on by Eskom, DoE & NERSA.

 
programme progress

The mass rollout of SWHs is slow but gaining momentum compared to the commencement of the programme. From April to 31 December 2010, 26 768 rebate-funded SWHs have been installed whilst about 30 974 systems have been installed since the advent of the programme in November 2008. These figures are spread across the country. Notwithstanding these lower than desired installation figures, the 2014 target is still in sight. The illustration below shows the healthy growth seen in the national SWH programme up to end October 2010.

 

 
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