Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Department of Energy: Solar Water Heater Programme Update

It was announced by DoE in June 2012 that `R4.7bn has been allocated over a three year period to support the installation of solar water heaters countrywide. This has been specifically and exclusively allocated to Eskom as the Programme Implementer’ (see articles in this Bulletin in June and November 2012 and January 2013) and that an invitation had been extended to municipalities to respond to an RFI indicating their `readiness’ to roll out SWHs in their areas.

After years of waiting for direction on the national government’s programme to roll out 1m solar water heaters (low pressure) by 2014, DoE issued a media statement on 4 February 2015 advising stakeholders that:

  • Further to a commitment to announce the transitional arrangements since the termination of the Eskom rebate programme, the Department of Energy (the “Department”) on Monday, February 02, 2015 provided stakeholders with an update on these transitional arrangements for the implementation of the national solar water heater (SWH) programme.
The release advises that:

  • Eskom (partial) rebates intended to reduce electricity demand

    DoE has taken over the Eskom rebate programme for (high pressure) solar water heaters but has capped the number of subsidies available. A new rebate scheme will be introduced (no date given) and subsidies will be offered with considerations regarding local content.
  • Fully-rebated SWH systems under the social programme

    This section announces that `The social programme is intended to provide an environmentally benign energy source for residential water heating purposes, irrespective of the impact on the electricity grid’.

    Regrettably, no details have been provided on the process for municipalities wishing to access this programme.
The release is interesting as it specifically avoids reference to high-pressure or low-pressure SWH systems.

A copy of the media release is available on the AMEU website at http://www.ameu.co.za/LibraryReports/IndustryDocuments.aspx#5258194-department-of-energy-doe
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