The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has taken the initiative to develop a R22 million non-grid solar project in the informal settlements falling within their jurisdiction.

This is the first municipality to head up a green energy system of this nature.

The Department of Energy’s Integrated National Electrification Programme (INEP)has set aside funds where capital subsidies are given to municipalities to implement innovative designs to support rural electrification, said Standing Committee Chairperson for Infrastructure, Engineering, Electricity and Energy Andile Mfunda.

‘The project will be for the supply and installation of a 12 volt Solar Home System to informal dwellings – specifically those on unproclaimed sites that fall outside the 7-year housing programme of the municipality…’

‘The first phase is expected to consist of approximately 3 000 installations of a basic Photo Voltaic System that consist of one PV panel, a battery, charge controller, four LED lights with switches and a 12V car cigarette lighter socket to charge mobile phones…’

 ‘Depending on the success of the pilot phase and the availability of additional funding, the provision of cooking appliances such as Gel Stoves could also be provided…’

 ‘In addition to this, approximately 50 solar streetlights/floodlights will be installed,” Mfunda added.

 The total R22 million has been allocated to solar streetlights (R2.1million), the installation of the non-grid home solar system (R12.9 million) and the maintenance and monitoring system (R7 million).

Mfunda said that because this pilot project had not been done before it would have to be tracked over five years.

‘Due to the experimental nature of the project, it will have to be evaluated over a period of five years.’

Mfunda stated that the municipality was elated at the prospects which this project would bring to its communities. Not only would they be involved in the global green energy initiative, but their general wellbeing and living conditions would be improved.