Money runs out for solar geysers

2011-08-12 09:53

Cape Town - The rebate fund for Eskom’s solar water heater programme will run dry in the current financial year.

This was evident from a department of energy submission to the portfolio committee on Thursday.

After Eskom sharply increased the subsidy per solar water heater last year, in April this year it reduced the amount amid rising electricity prices and an increase in demand for solar geysers.

By April only R314m remained with which to finance its subsidy programme.

Eskom has indicated that the programme will cease once the money runs out.

In its submission the department stressed that the fund, which is almost depleted, is causing rising concern.

There is no indication as to whether it will be topped up.

The DA's David Ross said the fact that the subsidy had already been reduced twice, and that dealers were limited to a certain number of installations a month, was worrying.

He believed the restriction would bring the programme to a halt.

In terms of the submission, dealers installing high-pressure systems can submit only 200 claims a month. No new approved dealer will be registered up to September 30 this year – and possibly after that as well.

The presentation states that on June 30 this year Eskom proposed a more structured approach to the allocation of subsidy funds.

In 2008 Eskom and the National Energy Regular of South Africa (Nersa) started working, together with other energy organisations, on a five-year programme to install solar geysers in South African households.

According to this programme. water heating is responsible for some 30% to 50% of an average household’s energy consumption.

In terms of government’s targets, by 2013  renewable energy must contribute up to 10 000 gigawatt hours towards the country's total energy consumption. According to Eskom, solar water heaters could contribute up to 23% of this target.

The government has a target of installing a million solar water heaters by 2014. But by April 2011 only 64 000 had been installed in terms of Eskom’s subsidy programme.

The department of energy has launched a separate programme to install solar water heaters in low-cost housing on a large scale.


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  • Nuck Choris - 2011-08-12 10:27

    million solar water heaters by 2014. But by April 2011 only 64 000 had been installed....... another Gov target in its glory. Pathetic really

      Ockert - 2011-08-12 14:06

      Has this govt. ever met any targets ?

  • Grayman - 2011-08-12 10:35

    Solar Geysers are over rated and there are a lot of installation companies on the band wagon making a quick buck. In order for a solar geyser to work efficiently and properly it must be installed at the correct angle and direction. I have seen too many geysers just slapped up on a roof at the cheapest price but wrong angle so it is virtually useless.

  • Esther Pearson - 2011-08-12 10:42

    Yeah right! we installed our solar geyser in Jan2011 - we still havnt received our rebate - Thanks so much Eskom! at least we're saving on our electricity bill, the one and only consolation.

      HJS - 2011-08-12 13:29

      You might be surprised when you do the calculation how small a diffrence that has made to your electricity account, usuall avery long term invetsment, takes ages to "save" what you've already spent.

  • Wowbagger - 2011-08-12 10:50

    Who is doing the math here? Can't someone run a project properly? instead of spending billions of Rand on new power stations why is that money not funneled into subsidizing alternative energy which will reduce the future energy requirement as well as providing income for many people in the form of business and labour? I suppose they won't do this because nobody seems to be able to plan ahead more than a year.

  • JWock - 2011-08-12 10:55

    When the subsidy stops, I wonde if the 'price' will drop suddenly?

  • Ingie - 2011-08-12 11:00

    LOL very funny... why offer something if that promise cannot be carried out. Would not surprise me if the money has not lined someones pockets!!!!

  • Sisie - 2011-08-12 11:08

    Where are the comments?

  • Bill - 2011-08-12 11:13

    I am sure that the money of the fund did not go into solar geysers but into somrones pocket!

  • Falkonetti - 2011-08-12 11:23

    Just make these things more affordable then everyone with a home will start purchasing them. At present only the rich can afford this. I am wanting to install one of these but cannot due to the price and including the subsidy from Eskom it is still too expensive. Make them cheaper to purchase and you will see how they will sell.

      dave_23 - 2011-08-12 12:04

      Subsidies, by and large, have precisely the opposite effect: They make products more expensive. Though there can be mitigating complexities, this is a simple and predictable consequence of the most basic laws of supply and demand. Subsidies both artificially raise the demand side of the pricing curve and simultaneously send more money chasing after the existing supply. Sometimes after a few years manufacturing can ramp up to meet the increased demand and bring in more competition, usually just about the time subsidies run out - like now - and then you end up with factories producing excess goods that the market no longer wants, because the subsidies distorted the market.

      dave_23 - 2011-08-12 12:06

      The next consequence may be a brief glut followed by a bunch of people losing their jobs as factories close down. Misallocation of resources, unproductive malinvestment. All predictable. Yet over and over, we make the same mistakes, in the goal of artificially engineering a goal.

      Shane_W - 2011-08-12 12:20

      WATCH THIS SPACE: "Build it" stores countrywide will soon be launching a robust new solar geyser which will blow the industry away. retailing at R3999. 80l geyser which feeds the electric geyser, with ACCURATE thermostats to minimise that wasted energy.

      tryanything - 2011-08-12 12:56

      Itsthe biggest racket ever .....

  • fjoub - 2011-08-12 11:26

    No surprise. The government never reach any of their targets

  • terry - 2011-08-12 11:33

    Like everything else that this government does - it is halfbaked and poorly thought through, because they simply caan't do the maths! They make lovely promises - like "1 million solar geysers by 2014" but they can't work that back to real numbers so that it is actually achieved. It is like showerhead's famous 5 million jobs will be created by the end of the year .....HOW?

      harpo - 2011-08-12 12:17

      my 7 year old can do the sums but he can't do woodwork! guess he won't be going into government later in life.

  • InnaD - 2011-08-12 11:35

    Don't worry, the white people will be forced by law to pay for this again.....what is for Malema's house????? Why don't we subsidise that too????

      tryanything - 2011-08-12 12:55

      We already do

  • Exoteric - 2011-08-12 11:36

    The whole program is a scam by Solar geyser 'installers' You can buy a sloar geyser fro for R3,000 pay less than 2K for installation and here these guys are trying to sell you a geyser for over R30 000 'less rebates' and it comes down to R20K etc its a complete rip off.. Good riddance

      Meerkatjie - 2011-08-12 13:16

      U dont have a clue what u are talking about exorteric, rather shutup!!

  • Deon Joubert - 2011-08-12 11:44

    Nothing this government do is ever a success. Is it brain dead or is it too busy looting the country. And it want to nationalise mines?

      ExRecce - 2011-08-12 12:28

      Mine nationalization is driven from a totally different angle than what we are made to believe. The law stipulates that once a mine is redundant it has to be rehabilitated. Now do you think the current mine bosses want to do that?? It will cost them zillions and zillions. It is mos much better to pay someone to utter nationalization to the masses. The masses comply and voila the mines are now government property as well as the problem to rehabilitate..........Problem solved. Rich mine bosses retire to their life of luxury.

  • WHITEPRIDE - 2011-08-12 11:45

    Maybe the Millions being given away to Swaziland and other places and countries should rather be put into this fund to Help South Africans

  • IC1 - 2011-08-12 11:49

    Damn, we could have used that R2.5Bill the ANC gave to the corruption king of Swaziland for this

      colin.dovey - 2011-08-12 12:24

      Actually @IC1 there is a very creative way of funding this problem, in a way which will do it for NOTHING in the end! - but Eskom needs to come the party: What they can do, is encourage folk to put in their own solar water heating system, and then, when it is put in, allow them to feed the "excess" power generated back into the grid, and be compensated for that - this in turn could save power generation capacity by Eskom, and effectively pay for the home or business owners installation. It is called "Private Enterprise" :-) AND, by the way - it is already being done overseas:

      Saai - 2011-08-12 12:45

      Maybe a 1/4 will reach Swaziland- You should know this!!Rest is shared in SA.haha

      Dougalan - 2011-08-12 12:50

      There is however still an Eskom subsidy in place for Heat Pump Water Heaters which save about two-thirds on geyser heating costs because they don't use electric elements. Check out pumps. According to this site, the subsidy runs until March 2013.

      trev2 - 2011-08-12 15:27

      ?????? Solar water heating does not produce electricity - it merely heats water. I think you are confusing it with solar power generation....

      trev2 - 2011-08-12 15:28

      My reply should have read @colin.dovey

      kooster - 2011-08-17 21:48

      @colin.dovey. Soloar heating has absolutely nothing to do with electricity (unless you have your own turbine in your yard). And if I have my own solar electricity system (that actually uses batteries at night), escom will not see a single milliwatt of that power.

  • Duncan Gohl - 2011-08-12 12:11

    Not enough 'comrade plumbers' out there ?

  • leeukraal - 2011-08-12 12:25

    is it genetics or apartheid

  • Saai - 2011-08-12 12:40


  • Ann - 2011-08-12 13:59

    Perhaps if Eskom didn't pay themselves such handsome bonuses there would be money for solar panels.

  • 2fly - 2011-08-12 14:00

    Now lets watch who will be throwing a lavish party soon....

  • Ockert - 2011-08-12 14:01

    Did the top guys at Escom get increases again for the funds to run out , or have they got their hands in the till again ?

  • Vince York - 2011-08-12 15:36

    Just tell the department that they will be placed into taxi's and there will be no problem. There is not a RBillion here or there that has not been given to that industry in varying guises, so Eskom geyers will merely be another laundered slush fund, availability without end.

  • 't' - 2011-08-12 16:11

    Why do I get the feeling that in some mysterious way the money will become available again for this programme, but the distribution of funds will be redirected to some guy who is connected to a politician? The delivery or lack thereof will make a story on its own but the guy will get paid in full. He might even get more than one bite of the cherry.

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