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Benefits Of Solar Water Geysers/Heaters in SA

The appeal of installed solar water heaters (SWHs) in South African families stays low, despite awareness regarding the prospective benefits of SWHs among possible users slowly improving. Reasons cited are extensive and consist of: blended sensations about quality of items, clearness relating to prospective cost savings and unreliable installers or providers. On the positive side, it is a truth that this growing market has actually drawn in numerous new entrants in the last five years (the market counts about 500 certified suppliers at present). Lots of providers have gotten strong know-how in selling and setting up SWHs. Purchasers of new SWHs will really likely benefit from previous experience acquired by installers.

Normal Savings

Normal water heating requirements of residential end users represent in between 30 and 50 % of their electrical power expense. Setting up a solar geyser offers significant opportunities to conserve on electricity consumption. According to Eskom’s Measurement and Verification program (backed by the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa or SESSA), it has been shown that a 200 litres SWH with 3.0 square metres collector conserves 3,000 kWh annually (or roughly R3,300, if transformed at typical municipal electricity rates).

Preliminary market research study, performed by Frost & Sullivan amongst private home owners that have actually installed a high pressure SWH, showed that cost savings usually vary in between 20 to 30 %, even though the bulk of surveyed individuals did not know precisely how much they were conserving. This is primarily due to increasing electricity prices and likewise because numerous simply do not follow their electrical energy intake. However, SWH owners were convinced they made a reasonable quantity of cost savings. In addition, 84 % of these people affirmed that they were very satisfied with the efficiency of their system which it fulfilled their prior expectations.

Technology and Performance

SWH innovation is now proven and it is quickly recognizable which model one must set up, depending on the geographical location of the house (and the widespread weather conditions), its structure and roofing position compared to the sun, along with water pattern usage.

As an example, China has the world’s largest set up capacity, with more than 30 million SWHs already installed thanks to strong federal government policy assistance, a proactive and competitive local manufacturing industry, along with strong coordination efforts amongst regional authorities. Cyprus, Israel, Austria, Germany, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Australia, and the United States are likewise good examples of nations that was successful to present SWHs on a big scale. A number of those nations passed legislation requiring SWH setup in brand-new structures, which constituted the primary trigger for large scale adoption.

Certainly, the success of SWHs is explained by the truth it permits minimizing dependence on national energy supply, taking pressure off the electricity grid, and at the very same time mitigating carbon emissions.

A SWH’s performance depends upon the level of irradiation. As a result, seasons and weather will affect the quantity of heating produced. On a cloudy day, less heat is produced and, thus, less cost savings in electrical energy. For this reason, a little electrical back-up component becomes part of the setup to guarantee that water is always heated to a minimum set temperature. Optimum slope and size of the panels are therefore essential and should be completely gone over with the provider and installer.

Investment Payback Period

Devices and setup costs may appear high, but considering the increasing electricity rates, the payback duration has now decreased to a series of in between 4 to 6 years, depending on the efficiency of the system installed and water pattern use. When one decides to purchase a SWH, one should not only think about cost, but rather cost and performance. As electricity prices will continue increasing, the repayment period might end up being even shorter.

Market Incentives

Since 2008, in an effort to incentivise the uptake of SWHs to help with minimizing pressure off a stretched grid, Eskom has actually been providing rebates to residential homeowner for their purchase of a SWH. The size of the refund depends upon the Q aspect of each SWH model, as identified by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), and ranges between R2,858 (100 litres, low pressure) and R8,964 (300 litres, high pressure). The Q aspect is a procedure of the heat acquired in perfect ‘normal day’ conditions in Pretoria, consequently indicating the kilowatt hours of electricity it is anticipated to save on a typical day. Among the disadvantages is the fact that if a similar SWH system is installed in Pretoria and Upington, the system in Upington will take advantage of the very same refund as the one in Pretoria, regardless of more helpful weather conditions that ought to lead to more heat and therefore more electricity savings, notes Frost & Sullivan.

Set up Capacity

To date, total SWH installed capacity is approximated at about 215,000-250,000, including low and high pressure systems. According to a technical professional at SESSA, about 162,000 rebate claims have actually been received at Eskom and 129,500 have been settled. Amongst those, 41,000 claims count for property end users that have actually acquired a high pressure SWH. Uptake has actually remained low, thinking about the one million target set by the government (to be accomplished by 2014), however is expected to grow as electrical power rates keep increasing and more people want to minimize their reliance from grid-supplied electrical power.


According to SESSA’s technical specialist, quality SWH systems need to have a 5-10 year service warranty, and 15-20 year life span, leaving adequate years for ‘totally free’ benefits after financial investment expenses have been recovered.

With the debt consolidation of the market, the ‘fly by night’ providers will be gotten rid of, resulting in much better end quality services and items, and prices will ultimately decrease thanks to larger economies of scale.

For those interested in installing a SWH, the Eskom Integrated Demand Management site offers all information regarding the refund program, in addition to a list of accredited suppliers and items per region with the corresponding rebate.

Installing a SWH does supply significant benefits and these will increase with time as electricity costs keep increasing.