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South Africa looks at solar water heaters solution to crisis

Eskom is working on plans to offer an incentive to households and businesses to install solar water heaters as one solution to South Africa's electricity crisis.
This is due to be announced in the next few months but it is unclear how it will be structured.

Andrew Etzinger, Eskom's general manager of investment strategy, said yesterday: "For Eskom, solar water heating is a priority … The idea is to roll it out on a large scale."

Etzinger said: "We are looking at a long-term sustainable project around solar water heaters. There may be some form of incentive for households, commerce and industry. Incentives will be for the entire market and not only for low-cost households."

Eskom is working on obtaining the necessary approvals from the government and the National Electricity Regulator of SA.

The average demand for electricity is 30 000 megawatts during morning peak. Households account for one-third of this demand, of which 25 percent is used to heat water. As more homes are built and more homes are electrified, demand for electricity will rise.

Etzinger said that on average it cost R3.5 million to save 1MW, compared with the R10 million it cost to build 1MW. But there are hurdles to installing a large number of solar water heaters in South Africa.

Additional information: Read the full story at Business Report
News date: 02/02/2007

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