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Journal of Energy in Southern Africa

On-line version ISSN 2413-3051
Print version ISSN 1021-447X

J. energy South. Afr. vol.22 n.3 Cape Town  2011


Dissemination of solar water heaters in South Africa



Keh-Chin ChangI; Wei-Min LinII; Greg RossIII; Kung-Ming ChungI

IEnergy Research Centre, National Cheng Kung University
IIDepartment of Business of Administration, Tainan University of Technology
IIIInstitute of International Management, National Cheng Kung University




Global concern over a looming energy crisis, water scarcity and man-made climate change are driving a huge demand for clean technologies, which focus on preserving the earth's resources. In South Africa, the economy is very energy-intensive with coal being the main national energy supply. In view of the growing depletion of fossil fuel, it is important for South Africa to adopt a more sustainable energy mix. This study examines the potential for widespread dissemination of solar water heaters (SWHs) in South Africa. Barriers and constraints to market expansion are analyzed to determine strategies for overcoming these barriers. It is found that payback period of a SWH is shorter than the life-span of the system itself, indicating that SWHs are economically viable even with low production cost of electricity and thus represent a profitable investment proposition for end users, manufacturers and distributors. However, the subsidy programs offered by the government of South Africa may not be sufficient to facilitate diffusion. This is attributed to the high initial capital cost of the system and low affordability of the majority of the South Africa population with low income. Alternative financing mechanisms are required.

Keywords: solar water heater, South Africa, subsidy



Full text available only in pdf format.



Special thanks go to Mr. John Murray (former Vice-President of Newbridge Telecommunications Networks) for his kind assistance in this study. Sincere thanks also go to Andrew Janisch, Sustainable Energy Society of South Africa (SESSA), for providing essential data on SWHs in South Africa. This work was also supported by the Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Republic of China.



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Received 3 September 2010
Revised 3 January 2011

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