The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will be implementing a pilot project for non-grid solar home systems which means the installation of green electricity at shacks, making it one of the first local authorities in the country to do so.

Standing Committee Chairperson for Infrastructure, Engineering, Electricity and Energy Andile Mfunda said money has been allocated as part of the Department of Energy’s Integrated National Electrification Programme (INEP) through which capital subsidies are provided to municipalities to address the electrification backlog.

“The project will be for the supply and installation of a 12 volt Solar Home System to informal dwellings – specifically those on unproclaimed sites that fall outside the 7-year housing programme of the municipality.

“The first phase is expected to consist of approximately 3 000 installations of a basic Photo Voltaic System that consist of one PV panel, a battery, charge controller, four LED lights with switches and a 12V car cigarette lighter socket to charge mobile phones.

“Depending on the success of the pilot phase and the availability of additional funding, the provision of cooking appliances such as Gel Stoves could also be provided.

“In addition to this, approximately 50 solar streetlights/floodlights will be installed,” Mfunda added.

The cost for the solar streetlights is estimated at R2.1 million, the installation of the non-grid home solar system at R12.9 million and R7 million for the maintenance and monitoring of the system.

“Due to the experimental nature of the project, it will have to be evaluated over a period of five years.

“The municipality is excited that we are now in a position to offer green energy to those living in informal settlements and by doing so improving their conditions and provide enough light for school children to study – all of this at no cost to them,” Mfunda said.

Council also recently approved the implementation of multi-faceted toilet facilities in areas where housing delivery will take longer to materialize and at the same time create job opportunities for people from the affected areas.