Eskom's solar water heater rebate progress

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Friday, March 16, 2012

As of January 2012, 180 000 claims had been received for solar water heater’s (SWH’s) to be installed through the Eskom managed SWH rebate programme. According to Eskom a total of 38 000 high pressure systems and 84 000 low pressure systems were installed over the 2008-2011 period which has resulted in a 60GWh/annum of energy savings.


The Eskom SWH rebate programme, in conjunction with the National Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), was initiated in 2009 and is expected to install 554 000 SWH’s by 2014.  NERSA supplied the initial funds for programme development and marketing, and committed to providing rebates for consumers for a five year period. Eskom has subsidised the purchase of registered SWH’s since the start of the programme and manages the programme.

The graph below shows the increase in cumulative installation claims from December 2008 to January 2012 by Eskom as well as the increase in monthly installations over the same period by Eskom. Monthly installations reached a peak in April 2011 and have decreased noticeably. At the end of April 2011 Eskom reduced the rebate level on the SWH programme which saw a flurry of claims before the end of April and a decrease in claims over the June to October 2011 period. From October to January 2012 a steady monthly increase in claims is noted.

Graph supplied by Theresa Ferguson , consultant to Eskom 2012


As of January 2012, 180 000 claims have been made for SWH’s through the rebate programme. Whilst this is a move in the right direction it is difficult to say if the target of 554 000 SWHs will be reached by Eskom.

The Eskom SWH rebate programme is part of a five year plan by the Department of Energy (DOE) to install 1 million SWH’s in households and commercial buildings by 2014. In addition to the SWH rebate programme the DOE has implemented a range of additional mechanisms to achieve the outstanding target.  According to the 2012 budget speech the government will be investing R4.7 billion in order to achieve the SWH target. In addition the levy on electricity generated from non-renewable sources will increase by 1c/kWh in 2012 and will replace the current funding mechanism for all energy efficiency interventions including the SWH rebate programme.

Electricity prices are also expected to increase further in the next few years which may encourage consumers to install SWH’s in order to decrease their electricity costs. In addition the introduction of energy efficiency regulations for new buildings in South Africa in November 2011 requires that 50% (volume fraction) of the annual heating requirements of a building are provided by sources other than electrical resistance heating and this could see an increase in the number of SWHs being installed.



Amanda Botes