Articles Posted in the Renewable energy category

Slow uptake for solar geysers. I’m not surprised.

August 22, 2008
Posted in Renewable energy

South Africans need incentives to replace their electric water heaters with solar water heaters because the conversion process isn’t going well, Dorothy Mahlangu of the Gauteng local government said at the Green Building Expo in Midrand this week. [Engineering News] Why am I not surprised? Last October when my electric geyser broke, I wanted to replace it with a solar geyser, but I didn’t and here’s why.

My insurance would only pay out about R4,500 to replace my geyser (because that is what it cost for a replacement electric geyser). I asked a plumber to recommend a solar geyser company – having heard that not all solar geysers are equal – this was before Eskom published its list of approved suppliers. I was told a new solar geyser, plus installation etc, would cost in the region of R18,000.

So, let’s just assume that I would have got a R3,000 consumer rebate from Eskom (which I suspect may be on the generous side), add to that the R4,500 from my insurance, and I would have been left needing R10,500 to pay for a new solar geyser. But I would have had to apply for the rebate after I’d paid for the geyser, so I would, in fact, have needed to have R13,500 handy. Compare that with getting a new electric geyser installed for basically no extra cash except the insurance excess, which I think was less than R1,000. Guess which option I chose?

I still would like a solar geyser, but I just can’t afford it.