The Department of Energy plans to offer a rebate for property developers who fit energy saving features in buildings.
Tabling the department’s Budget Vote on Tuesday, Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters said there were still many hotels that didn’t have energy efficient systems that, for example, turned off power automatically in a guest’s room when they left to go out.
She said the offer presented an opportunity for businesses and homeowners to invest in metering systems which could automatically switch off electricity when it wasn’t needed.
Nelisiwe Magubane, the department’s Director General, said R5.3 billion had been set aside in allowances.
The idea was for government to pay out the subsidy to developers for each megawatt hour of power they saved through implementing energy efficient measures.
Magubane expected the rebate to be rolled out by the end of May and said the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) would call for public hearings to discuss the extent of the subsidies that would be paid out.
Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma is expected to visit Winterveld, Pretoria, next Wednesday, where 7 000 solar water heating units are to be installed in RDP houses, as part of Eskom’s solar water heating programme.
The department said Eskom planned to install about 200 000 units by March 2011.
Zuma’s visit follows a revising of the programme by Eskom earlier this year, which saw the process for installers fitting the units being simplified and has pushed up the amount that can be claimed as a subsidy.
Peters said the department is working with the Department of Trade and Industry to encourage more local businesses to manufacture the units locally, while ensuring that standards were in place for solar water heating units.
She said the department already had buy-in from businesses who wanted to set up factories locally and from the Skills Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) who would be training more people on how to install the units.
Insurance companies are also working with the department in helping to advise their clients to fit solar water heaters, when their geysers expired, she said.
Peters said the department had also launched two flagship renewable energy initiatives, which would add 13MW to the national grid.
The one was a small scale hydro project at Bethlehem, Free State, and a waste- to- electricity project in Durban.
Peters also said the department was preparing to connect more communities who didn’t have electricity, particularly those in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, onto the national grid.
“We are busy putting in bulk infrastructure systems, so as to provide them with electricity,” said Peters.
The department would also publish an integrated energy planning strategy this year, which will outline the processes, systems and structures to guide the entire energy sector.