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South Africa: Eskom increases rebates for solar water heating programme

A substantial increase in the solar water heater rebates offered by Eskom, in some cases up to 120%, is set to bring environment-friendly solar heated geysers within the financial reach of thousands of South Africans wishing to reduce their home energy costs.
The major advantages of the increased rebates are that solar systems now become more affordable for consumers. The claim process still involves paying for the full cost of the system upfront and then claiming the rebate back. Consumers are guaranteed that once a complete rebate application has been lodged, money will be deposited into their accounts within eight weeks of the paperwork being received.

In addition, the payback period for the costs of the installations has been significantly reduced, enabling consumers to pay for systems in less than five years, says Cedric Worthmann, Eskom Renewable Energy Portfolio Manager. “Our improved scheme, which will provide purchasing assistance for systems supplied by Eskom-approved suppliers tested by the SABS, will offer more South Africans access to solar water heating. This could result in an increased number of households having their energy costs being cut by between 30 and 50%,” says Worthmann.

“The increase of up to 120% in the rebate offered was a response to present market conditions and will not be available for an indefinite period,” Worthmann said. The value of the rebate will be evaluated and decreased according to market drivers and energy costs on an annual basis for the next five years. “Our aim is to encourage as many South Africans as possible to move away from electric geysers, and replace them with solar heated systems. We estimate that there are currently about 4.2 million electric geysers in the country and only 76 873 installed solar water heating units.”

Making significant inroads in this market could see huge benefits for the country as electric geysers presently account for between 30 and 50% of all electricity used by the domestic market.
The levels of rebate will now see consumers receiving cash rebates of between R2 100 and R12 500.

“We believe our new increased rebate scheme will make the acquisition of solar heating more attractive than it has ever been at any time in a country where solar energy is an obvious alternative to electricity. The widespread adoption of solar water geysers could also contribute significantly to achieving government’s objective of having 10 000-gigawatt hours of final energy consumption emanating from renewable resources,” Worthmann concludes.

Additional information: web site ESKOM
News date: 11/01/2010

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