Delays in the new solar water heating rebates

The deadline for solar water heating installations to be administered through Eskom’s agents under the rebate programme expired on 30 April 2015. This means that at a time of unprecedented scarcity of power supply, not one directly incentivised consumer-focused national energy efficiency programme is in existence presently.  Consumer-focused energy interventions relating to hot water in particular are most effective in reducing the morning and evening demand peaks which often necessitate loadshedding and which are set to intensify during the winter months.


The ‘stop-start’ nature of the solar water heating programme is not through lack of financial resources. Significant funding for the rollout of one million solar water heaters by 2014 was ring-fenced for this purpose and much of it still exists. It can be argued that poor communication from and between government departments, seeming lack of administrative capacity and the inability to make key decisions at the operational level, all amount to gross negligence which threatens to severely harm an industry comprising SMMEs who do not have the capacity to deal with the uncertainty that has resulted.


Over the last 6 months, the SESSA Office has lobbied tirelessly with government departments, state-owned enterprises, government advisors and bilateral aid organisations in order to ensure at that at least some degree of continuity with the rebate programme is preserved whilst new programme guidelines are established.


The current inactivity from Government in the solar water heating sector, despite all the financial, human capital and industrial and scientific knowledge resources at its disposal, is in total contrast with the national policy aspirations espoused in various policy statements relating to energy security, carbon emissions and green economic growth.


Without an urgent intervention to unblock all administrative hurdles, solar installers will go about of business, manufacturers will close down, and consumers will again lose faith in a mature technology whose contribution to household, and indeed national, energy security is incontrovertible.


The SESSA Office and Solar Water Heating Executive Committee reaffirms its commitment to working with all stakeholders – public, private and civil society – to avoid this at all cost.



Article courtesy of SESSA. Copyright © 2015 Sustainable Energy Society of South Africa, All rights reserved.




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Monday, June 1st, 2015 - News

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