The Department of Energy (DoE) announced its solar water heating (SWH) rebate scheme on Thursday, after the official take-over from parastatel power utility Eskom, on 1 February 2015.

The DoE has placed a 5 000 SWH subsidy limit until a new rebate scheme is firmly in place. The DoE added that the subsidies would be issued at the existing Eskom rebate levels and no further subsidies would be granted once this quota had been reached, Creamer media reported.

“Going forward, a new rebate scheme will be introduced and subsidies will be offered [taking into consideration] local content. A sliding scale commensurate with local content will apply and products with the highest verified local content will attract the highest rebates”, the DoE said in a statement.

As part of the new scheme, the DoE has introduced a digital data collection system which will capture a photograph, GPS coordinates, the name of the system supplier and installer, unit size and name of owner of each installed SWH.

“Only those products that have met the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) verification process [as prescribed under SABS: SATS 1286] will be eligible for receiving subsidies under the social programme”, the DoE emphasised.

The DoE will issue further information to product and installation vendors on 31 March 2015.

Factors which caused delays under Eskom reign

  • Procurement process was too long
  • Not enough consideration was paid to the targeted demand reductions (focused on low consumption areas)
  • The number and location of installed units was incorrectly captured
  • Installations were not done correctly
  • Supplier maintenance was not adhered to
  • The Department of Trade and Industry (DTi) requirements on local content restricted many local manufacturers

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