Look on The Supplier page on Eskom’s Demand Site website (www.eskomdsm.co.za) to see which suppliers and products are registered with the programme.  A solar water heater can provide you with between 50% and 90% of a home’s total hot water requirements, and since solar energy is free, this translates into a saving of up to 70% of your monthly electrical bill. Eskom’s Solar Water Heating Programme means even more savings for homeowners – there are massive rebates to be claimed for those who are investing in solar water heating systems.

What is Eskom’s Solar Water Heating Programme?

Introduced at the beginning of 2008, the Eskom Solar Water Heating Programme offers consumer rebates that are paid directly to consumers. The amount of rebate you will qualify for is entirely dependent on how much electricity the system you choose will displace, the rand value of which will be between R1 500 to R5 000. In order to claim this rebate, consumers need to choose an Eskom-approved supplier and product. Eskom offers the following tips on how to go about choosing a supplier and a system:

  • Look on The Supplier page on Eskom’s Demand Side Management website (www.eskomdsm.co.za) to see which suppliers and products are registered with the programme.
  • Contact suppliers in your area, and have them recommend a system to you, based on your home, family size, usage pattern, location and budget.
  • Confirm that the system you choose will qualify for a rebate, as not all systems being sold by suppliers will.
  • Follow the normal sales procedure with your chosen supplier.
  • Ensure your old electric geyser is disabled.
  • Complete and sign required documentation that should be given to you by your chosen supplier.
  • Submit the required forms in the supplied envelope to the facilitating auditors within six months of purchase.
  • You will receive SMS progress reports on your claim.
  • Payment of the rebate will be made within eight weeks from date of receipt.

Choosing the right solar water heating system

According to Eskom, only registered products that comply with the following criteria will qualify for the rebate:

  • It must be a high-pressure system with pressure higher than 100kPa.
  • The system must have a timer to optimise energy savings and regulate everyday usage. Alternatively, a load management device will be necessary to control the usage in crisis situations, such as a geyser buddy or ripple relay for example.
  • The system must be appropriate for the household and area in which it is installed, in terms of size, frost protection and water quality compatibility.
  • It must have a comprehensive guarantee of at least five years.
  • The system must have passed the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) tests, and comply with the South African National Standards (SANS) for thermal and mechanical performance and safety.
  • The supplier of the system must be registered with SESSA (Sustainable Energy Society of South Africa) solar water heating division.
  • The system must be installed by a registered installer and the customer will only be able to claim the rebate once facilitating auditors receive a final invoice from their supplier.

Selecting the right size solar water heating system

The size of geyser and collectors that you choose will be entirely dependent on the storage volume required to provide 100% of the household’s needs. According to Eskom, the rule of thumb when working this out is to allow at least 50 litres of water at a minimum of 55ºC to 60ºC per person per day. However, each household is unique and the individual water consumption patterns should be taken into account. Eskom provides the following table as an example on how to size a solar water heating system for four people:

  • Daily hot water requirement 50 litres per person (200 litres)
  • Hand basins 5 litres per person per day (20 litres)
  • Dishwashing 3 litres per meal, assume 2 meals at home daily (24 litres)
  • Add compensation for heat loss due to cold water mixing 244 litres x 20% (48.8 litres)
  • No washing machine added –
  • Total hot water requirement 292.8 litres per day

Further savings

Eskom notes that homeowners can augment their saving potential by doing the following:

  • Shower instead of bathing, as it uses far less water.
  • Shower in the evening, rather than the morning, as you will use the energy saved during the day.
  • Install water-saving shower heads and aerators into your taps to reduce water consumption.
  • Minimise heat losses by insulating your hot water piping.
  • Use cold water to wash hands and rinse dishes.
  • Set your system to provide hot water at a temperature of 55ºC to 60 ºC

Article by Antonella Dési, courtesy of Property24 website