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Solar exhibition warms up consumers

Solar exhibition warms up consumers (Image: www.powerpoint.co.ke)

Installing a solar water heater is the best way for residents to reduce their electricity consumption, save money, help avoid power outages and contribute to a more sustainable environment. As a result, the City of Cape Town is making the education around solar water heaters more accessible to the public through the opening of a new exhibition stand at The Building Centre at Northgate Estate.

While residents and businesses are caught between the increasing electricity prices and the country’s power shortage, the City of Cape Town is looking at ways to ease the burden on consumers wherever possible.

One such method is by educating consumers about the installation of solar water heaters and the benefits thereof, as well as recommending accredited service providers who can be trusted to be of assistance should consumers want to make a long-term investment. In light of this, the City’s Accredited Solar Water Heater Programme opened its new exhibition stand at The Building Centre at Northgate Estate yesterday, 15 April 2015, and welcomed four new accredited service providers (ASP) into the programme. The City now has 20 ASPs listed as part of its programme.

“The stand will be at The Building Centre for at least one year, providing a space that residents can visit seven days a week to see what solar water heaters and heat pumps look like. They can also use the touch-screen to learn more about how these technologies work and the typical savings, as well as the contact details of ASPs. The Building Centre has scores of permanent exhibits of building products for homeowners, builders, renovators and architects so that they can make more informed decisions when doing home improvements, renovating and building,” says the City.

“Over 4 623 solar water heaters have been installed since November 2013, according to the City’s records. It is estimated that this has already created 132 job years’ worth of work and boosted the local economy by over R83m. It is also set to save 10,4 GWh of electricity, which will save residents almost R19m, most of which will be spent in the local economy.”

Installing a solar water heater usually saves 25% or more of a household’s electricity costs. Typically, a 200-litre solar water heater can provide savings of R4 600 or more per year to a household of four people. If an electric geyser bursts or fails, it is an ideal opportunity to upgrade to a solar water heater with the help of the insurance pay-out.

“With electricity prices increasing and the country facing a power shortage, which is not going to end any time soon, all consumers will need to evaluate their electricity saving habits and start implementing better electricity saving methods and new technologies, where possible. Investing in a solar water heater at this stage may be considered costly, however, consumers will reap the long-term benefits of their investment when they see that they are saving both electricity and money, as well as contributing to a more sustainable environment,” says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.

All consumers are responsible for saving electricity, therefore the City wants to ensure that they are adequately informed in order to make decisions in this regard.

“Residents, businesses and local government need to work together to save electricity, save money, and to ensure that we are contributing to a more sustainable environment. The City is already leading by example by reducing electricity consumption in its own operations, through efforts such as retrofitting office buildings and replacing street and traffic lights with more efficient lighting. These efforts are saving over R20m a year so far, which means that more money is made available for other projects which benefit the residents of Cape Town.”

“The City encourages the public to visit the exhibition stand to see what electricity savings options are available, particularly related to solar water heaters and heat pumps (which are a good alternative if a home is not suitable for a solar water heater). Through this exhibition stand, the City is providing consumers with a different channel to access information so that they can make well-informed decisions about their energy saving investments, which will have long-term benefits for both the consumer and environment,” says Councillor van der Merwe.

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