18 April 2008
Switching from conventional geysers to solar water heaters is not only a response to the current energy crisis affecting South Africa, but also a sustainable long-term investment for residents, says Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica.
“The use of solar energy, which is a renewable energy source, will assist us in reducing the load of pressure on the national electricity grid while increasing energy supply mix as a renewable source of energy,” Sonjica said at the launch of the kwaNokuthula Solar Water Project in Riversdale in the Western Cape on Thursday.
Solar water heating is one of the key energy response measures highlighted in the government’s national electricity response plan that was launched in January.
Sonjica said that through the national response plan, the government had acknowledged the importance of solar energy and solar water heating not only as a means of demand side management but also as an energy efficiency measure.
In addition, the development of solar industry in the country had important economic and job creation potential.
“It is important that we develop this project to ensure increased job creation through solar water heating as we need to ensure that these appliances are in the long run manufactured and produced locally,” she said. “This will also create sustainable jobs throughout the value chain and reduce the cost of these technologies.”
During the launch, Sonjica acknowledged the Western Cape provincial government for establishing a solar water heating training academy, which is expected to take its first batch of 240 trainees soon.
Energy efficiency exhibition
On Wednesday, the Gauteng Department of Local Government also announced plans to host a three-day Energy Efficiency Product and Information Exhibition as part of the national campaign to save electricity.
The exhibition, scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 June at the Nasrec Expo Centre to the south of Johannesburg, will bring together a range of products that households, business, institutions and general public can use in order to contribute to the national energy saving campaign.
“Our objective is that by the end of this year we will have an extensive energy efficiency network reaching out to every ward, resident, institution, businesses and non-government organisation,” said Provincial Local Government Minister Qedani Mahlangu.
The display is aimed at providing a platform for all services providers of energy efficient products such as solar powered roofing insulation system, energy saving light bulbs, ripple control geysers to geyser blankets to showcase and explain their products to the public.
Mahlangu said the exhibition would incorporate four briefing sessions aimed at ensuring that Gauteng residents became active in energy efficiency campaigns, with every sector of the province being organised to play a meaningful role.