R500m approved for solar water heaters

Pretoria - The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality has approved an amount of R500 million to install low pressure solar water heaters to households that have benefited from government's low cost housing programme.

The three-year roll out programme will begin in this first quarter of 2011 and is aimed at reducing poverty levels by significantly helping residents save on energy costs, while at the same time contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Ekurhuleni executive mayor, Mondli Gungubele said the programme was part of the National Solar Water Heating programme, launched in April last year to get one million solar-water heaters set up in homes across South Africa by 2014.

"The roll out of low pressure solar water heaters to low cost house owners speaks to the core of our efforts to save expenses in respect of the purchasing of electricity, thereby deal with poverty and underdevelopment," said Gungubele.

By striving to achieve the 2014 target, Gungubele said he was confident this will go a long way towards meeting another national target of ensuring that by 2013, 10 000 gigawatt-hours of final energy consumption is supplied by renewable energy.

The households to benefit from the programme are in Daveyton, Etwatwa, Duduza, Kwa-Thema and Tsakane.

"By switching to solar water heating, each of the households in these areas could drastically help reduce carbon emissions, a 150-litre solar-water heater, which is adequate for two to three people, can save 4.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day, or 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide," he explained.

Meanwhile, Gungubele announced that the metro will be putting more effort to reducing the 121 000 number of houses in proclaimed areas, which are without electricity.

"We need to expedite the process of getting these houses connected. This situation demands that we work differently and smatter," he said.

The focus areas include Palmridge Phase 2, Tinasonke, Eden Park, Extension 4 and Esselen Park.

- BuaNews