On the one hand I realise that this is a time of heightened activity in the solar water heating industry, which puts South Africa in a perfect climate for many people to make sound economic savings on their electricity bills. On the other hand I also experience a certain feeling of pride when I look at the work that needs to be carried out and what industry players are doing, such as Eskom’s increase in its residential rebates as part of an improved solar water heating programme.
It is commendable that Eskom has already paid out 7 500 of those rebates with an additional 500 pending and doing so at an exponential rate since the programme started!
With the collaborative efforts of industry and other key association bodies, the 2020 vision of reducing our carbon emissions by 34% committed to at Copenhagen will be challenging, but achievable.
Putting the country on a low carbon growth trajectory as well as providing jobs and other service delivery aspects is a fine balancing act and will need co-operation from all sectors. In this vein, I’ve been working closely with the key players in the parastatal sectors, our members and big business to ensure maximum synergies.
As the soccer anthem goes: “You will never walk alone…”, and in this light we are already seeing cross pollination with Alive2Green a platform tackling issues surrounding sustainability and the environment. I shall be attending their Sustainable Energy Seminar on 6 October 2010, which aims to bring together some of the country’s energy stakeholders who are instrumental in either initiating energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and policy or specifying and manufacturing the products and technologies that will change the way we deal with energy in South Africa. Please be on the lookout for the information on this event in your mailbox as well as feedback.
I will also be speaking at the Green Future and Environmental Sustainability Conference on 7 October 2010 which brings to the mainstream issues around sustainability in the business environment as well as green social responsibility.
We have collaborated with 90×2030, which is a campaign that aims to ramp up domestic solar water heating installation in SA. The campaign not only puts the challenge to government but it also gears people who haven’t taken up the Eskom rebate to do so. Oxfam, one of its partners, is challenging organisations and donors to integrate policies, such as additional low carbon supportive subsidies, with staff to ensure maximum reach.
SESSA SWH is looking to launch the Sunwater For Life programme which aims to open a new avenue for managing your carbon footprint and supporting greener forms of energy generation. This initiative is a platform where big business can offset its emissions in a truly sustainable and measurable manner through the use of Carbon Dioxide Certificates (CO2Cs) and thus incentivise the renewable energy sector. It will also reward producers and installers of green energy and members will benefit directly from installing systems launched under the programme. In addition, the purchase of the CO2Cs will produce some of the following benefits: support for growing the green sector and green collar jobs, reduce the costs of system installations; economic stability though an improved energy mix; development of previously disadvantaged communities as well as avoid local environmental degradation and other externalities of energy supply.
Sunwater For Life gives back by launching a solar system fund that will give big business and key players the opportunity to support solar water installations, creating a tangible green legacy, while improving the quality of life for beneficiaries as they gain access to hot running solar water. Each CO2C is uniquely-issued, independently audited and certified to ensure that it does not get double-counted.
It is undoubtable that South African businesses and brands are starting to see the importance of prioritising the green agenda and aligning their purpose in society with sustainable values. This is beneficial not only from an economic sense, but from managing their reputations as responsible corporate citizens. Here at SESSA SWH, green values are well-entrenched in our organisational DNA and it is this vision which will sustain us well beyond 2020 and into a future where renewable energy is part of our everyday experiences. This future is one where renewables will support some of the greatest industrial advancements and present some of the most ground-breaking economic opportunities.
As we all strive towards doing the right thing for our planet in this post-Copenhagen era, one thing is certain, we will be more effective by fostering a coordinated approach and living within our carbon budget, creating tangible and robust green legacies for all to share.
Written by Irvan Damon: SESSA Solar Water Heating Ambassador
The Eskom renewable rebates do help with lowering the initial cost of solar water heaters but there are ways of financing solar power for homes. There are countries where no renewable energy rebates are in place but yet the citizens still buy solar geysers and solar panels as they recognise them as investments and ultimately a lower cost of living (solar water heating systems can reduce monthly household electricity bills by up to 50%). In South Africa, solar geysers typically amortize their initial cost within 36 months at current Eskom tariffs. Eskom is planning drastic increases in electricity tariffs within the next few years- solar geysers will probably pay for themselves in an even shorter period. Yes Solar Mpumalanga (solar energy solutions) is a division of Water Rhapsody Mpumalanga (water and energy are linked!). Yes Solar supplies German-made Solsquare solar geysers that are installed by professional solar installers. Solsquare solar water heaters are SABS-approved and qualify for Eskom renewable energy rebates. Our WWF Award-winning Water Rhapsody water systems include rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling systems.
Contact us for a free quote on a solar geyser, water conservation system or water tank (we are also authorised JoJo Tank dealers and can supply the full range of JoJo rainwater tanks, JoJo water tanks and JoJo water tank stands at very competitive prices).