Eskom to cut solar heater discount

2011-04-14 06:34

Cape Town - Eskom plans to reduce the rebate for solar water-heaters before the end of April.

From a letter to solar hot-water cylinder suppliers participating in Eskom’s subsidy programme, Eskom apparently plans to reduce the rebate from April 29.

Only those solar geysers installed before April 29, and for which completed claim forms have been received by May 13, will qualify for the old rebate.

The cut in the rebate for high-pressure solar geysers – the type that is usually sold to middle to high-income households – could be from 10% to 25%.

An imported 10-litre to 149-litre solar geyser currently receives a maximum rebate of R4 373, but after April 29 this will be only R3 280.

This includes VAT and is about 25% less.

The discount on a solar geyser that has 80% of its content manufactured locally, and which has a capacity of 250 to 300 litres, will drop from a maximum of R9 960 to R8 964, or be 10% down.

In the letter Andrew Etzinger, general manager of integrated demand-side management at Eskom, said the discount programme would end as soon as all the money budgeted for it this year had been exhausted.

According to Etzinger, 64 000 solar geysers have been installed so far through Eskom’s subsidised programme.

This week Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said in his budget address that the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) was a co-funder of a project to install solar geysers for low-cost housing and had to date installed 38 000 units.

The project plans to install another 80 000 units next year.

In 2009 the Energy Minister set a target of installing one million solar geysers in South Africa by 2014.

Ompi Aphane, Energy Deputy Director-General, previously told parliament that the solar water-heater programme was very important for the country because it cost far more to generate one kilowatt hour of electricity at the Kusile coal-fired power station than it did to save one kilowatt hour of electricity by means of a solar water-heater.

- Sake24

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  • dgee - 2011-04-14 06:59

    Of course its importany but it doesnt appear to be important enough. There is simply not enough incentive for an average household to install solar heating. An electric geyser is still a fraction of the price and the cost recovery of solar will take years. Overseas countries have implemented this cheaply and effectively, Turkey being a good example. Even road side stalls use solar to make tea.

  • Mikemcc - 2011-04-14 07:43

    I'll bet the money available for bonuses hasn't run out though!

  • Chomp - 2011-04-14 08:02

    they're not as useless as Telkom, but this cut completely contradicts their kak adds they spend thousands on

  • Nicolai - 2011-04-14 08:06

    I REALLY hope this is temporary...because this is going in the wrong direction...Clean energy should be encouraged!

  • derek ritson - 2011-04-14 08:08

    This is lunacy. If you save more by using one less unit of solar heated electricity than Eskom's having to pay more for the same unit out of a newly-built power station, then plain common sense simply tells all of us [but not Eskom apparently] simply to increase the amount budgeted for subsidising solar heat installations

  • bokfan1 - 2011-04-14 08:35

    If this programme is so important and cost effective, why were no more funds set aside for the solar rebate budget? Surely someone should've noted the demand and necessity to increase this budget? I understand the lesser rebate for an imported geyser but why an overall reduction in the rebates?

  • JustinX - 2011-04-14 08:40

    So Eskom does not have enought money now to clean up their mess?

  • Lawence - 2011-04-14 09:52

    So, shift the budgets around! And soon you (Eskom) will have 1 million less geysers to heat. As you said yourself, its basic, simple economics

  • Collitjies - 2011-04-14 11:42

    The average house holder cannot afford a solar geyser anyway, at around R22000,00 installed (after rebate) is only for the rich. Savings on electricity bills would take many many years to pay for such a high outlay.

  • Redwine - 2011-04-14 12:34

    I can`t wait for this to stop completely. That way we will be able to stop the monopoly and maybe be able to import and buy cheap ones that actualy works. I can import better quality and install at half of the subsidized price.

  • will294 - 2011-04-14 14:32

    The problem is that the solar geyser installers merely increased their price each time ESKOM increased their incentive. When I did the calculations on whether it would advantageous to go the great expense of installing a solar geyser,I discovered that it would take years to repay the cost. A lot of the guarantees are only for 5 years - although one was for 10 years - but on reading the fine print, one finds that the labour cost for installing the replacement of the manufacturer's defective product is only 1 year!!. It is better to look at other ways of reducing your costs - install a geyser control system, geyser blankets, install a gas oven, replace your swimming pool with a jacuzzi (save on water and the cost of electric for running your pool pump 12 hours a day)

      Peter - 2011-04-15 05:30

      This problem comes from using independent plumbers, who want to partake of the cash cow. I am sure, if ESKOM really wanted to, they could establish other ways of getting the benefit through to the public. In fact, it is in their interest to do so. But the sad fact of life in South Africa today is that the 'talk' is the easy part; the 'putting your mouth where the money is' is the part that is always missing.

  • 50something - 2011-04-14 16:59

    So what is the rationale behind this? If it costs more to produce on KWh of electricity than to safe one KWh by means of solar power, what is the problem?

  • JOHNNYBRAVO - 2011-04-14 17:28


  • Chris - 2011-04-14 18:11

    Hopefully the price will come down. As soon as Eskom set up it's band of merry installers the price of Solar Systems trebled! Do away with subsidies and let the free market forces bring the price down - we will probably end up paying the same price anyway!

  • Rajty - 2011-04-15 10:20

    If solar heating is so important them why should Eskom carry the burden - surely it is all of our responsibility to do things that are sustainable and environmentally friendly....and don't start this crap about costs because people spend more on PVR decoders and LED TV's...

  • Fred - 2011-04-15 10:37

    "Ompi Aphane, Energy Deputy Director-General, previously told parliament that the solar water-heater programme was very important for the country because it cost far more to generate one kilowatt hour of electricity at the Kusile coal-fired power station than it did to save one kilowatt hour of electricity by means of a solar water-heater." Huh !!!! It is so important to save electricity that they cut the subsidy to discourage people from saving electricity !!!! Does this make sense? Probably, but only in South Africa, and only with our "brains trust". I think this proves that from Eskom through to the Dept of Energy Affairs we don't have a single ounce of brain, just money grabbing, arrogant, greedy, self-serving idiots perpetually on the gravy-train.

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