The Shisa Solar programme allows participants to pay less for SWHs, through a ‘volume purchasing’ system. Participants begin by registering their details on the programme website www.shisasolar.org.za which has gone live. Once 10 people in a neighbourhood are registered on the site, the Shisa team will link the home owners to a pre-selected panel of service providers, who will provide quotations for the units.
The Municipality developed the solar water heating programme to help customers use less electricity, save money and contribute to the environment.
The Shisa Solar Neighbourhood Programme, was launched on the March, 25, by the National Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters, in Welbedacht West. The aim is to bring affordable Solar Water Heaters (SWH) to all households within the Municipal boundaries.
Derek Naidoo, Deputy City Manager for Procurement and Infrastructure, said that the Shisa Solar Programme is unique in South Africa and showed the Municipality’s commitment to finding innovative solutions to energy and climate change issues that affect everyone.
Derek Morgan, Senior Manager of the eThekwini’s Energy Office, which is managing the programme said, ‘The project effectively hand-delivers interested customers in a small geographic area to pre-selected panel of local SWH companies. This allows for economies of scale and ultimately reducing the cost of installing SWHs.’
He noted that one of the big reasons people do not buy SWHs in South Africa is the up-front cost of individual SWH units. These costs can range from R10 000 to R30 000. However, once the SWH is installed, households can expect up to 30% reduction in their household electricity bill. This means that the unit could pay itself off in about 5 years and then households enjoy free hot water directly from the sun.
He also said that ESKOM is planning to decrease the existing subsidy for solar water heaters in June this year and this will also be matched by a national electricity price increases. He said ‘this is the time to go solar.’
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