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Solar heaters should be seen as long-term investments

by Luyanda Makapela
on 17 Apr 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has again urged consumers to use solar water heaters, saying this was not only a response to the current energy crisis, but as a sustainable long term investment for South Africa.

"The use of solar energy, which is a renewable energy source, will assist us in reducing the load of pressure on the national electricity grid while increasing energy supply mix as a renewable source of energy," said Ms Sonjica addressing community members at the official launch of kwaNokuthula Solar Water Project in Riversdale on Thursday.

Solar water heating is one of the key energy response measures that were highlighted in the National Electricity Response Plan launched by government in January this year.

The minister said through the national response plan, government had acknowledged the importance of solar energy and solar water heating as not only demand side management but an energy efficiency measure.

She said although solar heating systems were important energy response and intervention measures, the development of solar industry in the country had important economic and job creation potential.

"It is important that we develop this project to ensure increased job creation through solar water heating as we need to ensure that these appliances are in the long run manufactured and produced locally.

"This will also create sustainable jobs throughout the value chain and reduce the cost of these technologies," said Ms Sonjica.

During the launch, the minister acknowledged the Western Cape provincial government for establishing a solar water heating training academy which is expected to take its first batch of 240 trainees soon.

"This shows our commitment in coordinating efforts to save energy in the course of implementing both provincial and national strategies," said Ms Sonjica.

On Wednesday, the Gauteng Department of Local Government announced plans to host a three-day Energy Efficiency Product and Information Exhibition as part of the national campaign to save electricity.

The exhibition, scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 June at the Nasrec Expo Centre, will bring together a range of products that households, business, institutions and general public can use in order to contribute to the national energy saving campaign.

"Our objective is that by the end of this year we will have an extensive energy efficiency network reaching out to every ward, resident, institution, businesses and non-government organisation," said Gauteng Local Government MEC Qedani Mahlangu on Wednesday.

The display is aimed at providing a platform for all services providers of energy efficient products such as solar powered roofing insulation system, energy saving light bulbs, ripple control geysers to geyser blankets to showcase and explain their products to the public.

Ms Mahlangu said the exhibition will incorporate four briefing sessions aimed at ensuring that Gauteng residents become active in energy efficiency campaigns with every sector of the province being organised to play a meaningful role.

It will later be followed by extensive sectoral engagements where each sector will come up with ways on how to respond to the electricity and broader energy crisis. - BuaNews


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