A National Solar Water Heater Programme will soon be rolled out in the eThekwini Municipality according to the city’s Executive Committee.

The programme, which is funded by the national Department of Energy, will see solar water geysers installed on the roofs of low income houses as part of the departments drive to create jobs.

The Department of Energy previously ran a programme for the installation of solar water heaters, ending in 2012 after installing approximately 30 000 heaters in eThekwini homes.  According to the municipality most installations were successful.

A two-pronged approach

A report was tabled by the Executive Committee at a meeting this week stated that the Solar Water Heater Programme has two components namely the Social Programme and the Load Reduction Programme.

The Load Reduction Programme will target higher income homes and will only be partially subsidised and will not be offered to low income suburbs.

The Social Programme is fully subsidised and will be free to recipients. Work will be carried out by local labour and local contractors trained by the Department of Energy.

The full subsidy will cover both installation and maintenance. The areas to be served by this programme will be identified by the City with final approval by the Department of Energy.

Regular updates and reports

The participation of local labour is in line with Municipal procedures. Integral to this programme is the plan to develop the skills and secure employment to local communities affected by this programme.

Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee, Mondli Mthembu said the recommendations of the report were clear that the rollout process is underway.

He said there will be regular update reports of the project. “We will ensure that the distribution will be done according to the poorest of the poor to ensure we put geysers where they are needed most,” he said.

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