Solar Water Heating

Volume 5, Number 6 - Dec/Jan 2010

Utilities such as energy, water and waste can form a large component of costs and operational requirements for companies. There is, however, increasing recognition that reducing utility usage not only lowers operating costs, but can help to achieve environmental targets and regulatory alignment, as well as demonstrate corporate responsibility to shareholders, customers, clients and the wider public.
Southern Power Maintenance is a company which specialises in extending substation primary plant life by providing dependable electrical infrastructure products in South Africa.
The Western Cape’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Planning awarded the contract to supply and install solar water heating to a number of community members in Darling, Western Cape, to Citrine Solar and their supplier, Solar Distributors Africa (SDA) The Department has set a goal of 14% renewable energy by 2014 and impoverished communities, who often have no access to hot water, will benefit greatly from this type of project, according to Tony Geldenhuys,a Director of Citrine Solar.
“With all the talk about smart metering and its potential to manage the electrical crisis, improve grid-efficiency and curb financial losses for major electricity utilities, one significant point is forgotten”, says the managing director of Green Technologies, Shalin Govender.
Until fairly recently, the return on investment for power factor correction equipment in South African commercial and industrial applications was extremely long. Avoidance of wasteful electricity demand and consumption was in the past not given the attention it deserves and energy-efficiency has only very recently become a strategic objective for most companies.
Why do organisations increase spending to “green” themselves and what is required to realise real returns on energy-efficiency investments?
Africa’s increased demand for available resources and unstable energy environment have caused building owners and companies to seek energy management solutions to absorb rising electricity prices and ensure sustainability.
“Agriculture is not only about food production, but it also concerns energy. So with the surplus maize, we as government must look again at our biofuel policy,” said Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (
Petro SA has approved a US$1-billion offshore gas project. The offshore gas field, called FO, is located at the South Coast and production is expected to start by the first quarter of 2011.
Interior and Homeland Security of the United States and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has contracted DNV for forensic examination of the blowout preventer (BOP) and lower marine riser package that was fitted to the Mocondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Tognum Group company MTU in southern Africa is providing emergency back-up power to Black Rock Mine in order to ensure power security during unforeseen electricity failures.
Oilmoz is a refinery in Mozambique that develops 350 000 barrels per day. During a recent African oil conference, Oilmoz CEO Fausto Cruz told journalists that the refinery expects to reach a funding agreement with European energy investors before the end of the year.
The European Union has launched a €2-million Jatropha processing plant in Walewale in the West Mamprusi District. The five-year project is going to use infertile lands in the area for the cultivation of the Jatropha plant and process the seeds to obtain crude-oil and its by-products.
“Lesser-known renewable energy sources such as biomass gasification could be seen as an attractive option for private power in South Africa,” says Frost & Sullivan’s power systems industry analyst, Ross Bruton.
Abdul Minty, a South African diplomat, lost the bid to become head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano.
If governments remove tariff and non-tariff barriers, investment in small hydropower projects in Africa will increase, says a hydropower consultant with the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), Leonard Kassana.
BASF was again included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World). The company received special recognition by the analysts for risk and crisis management, environmental policy and reporting and climate strategy.
A new book by World Bank economists, entitled The Day After Tomorrow: A Handbook on the Future of Economic Policy in the Developing World, states that developing countries are becoming a new engine of global growth and a pulling force for advanced economies.
The South African state-owned power utility, Eskom, has signed two export credit agency loans for ZAR1-billion with the Deutsche Bank and ZAR600-million with the Credit Agricole CIB, both acting as sole arranger, agent and lender.
Africa and the European Union have joined forces to achieve the goal of setting up over 15 500 MW of renewable energy facilities in Africa and provide sustainable energy to at least 100 million Africans by 2020.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Donald Kaberuka, made the world hear Africa’s voice by participating in the World Energy Congress (WEC), which was held in Montréal, Canada, from 12-16 September 2010.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in America conducted “one of the most exhaustive and detailed studies to date” which found that solar homes sold 20% faster, for 17% more than equivalent non-solar homes.
South Africa’s second Solar Challenge race, which was organised by the Advanced Energy Foundation and the Innovation Hub, kicked off on 24 September and ended on Saturday 2 October, with the Innovation Hub in Pretoria as the start and finish line.
Solairedirect Southern Africa is a power generation company that develops, builds, co-owns and operates large solar power installations. The company is a subsidiary of the Solairedirect Group, which is based in France.
The Department of Energy (DoE) is to start drafting the documentation to buy power from IPPs (Independent Power Providers) under the renewable energy feed-in-tariff (Refit) programme.
Offgrid specialist Phaesun GmbH in Memmingen, Germany has launched a project to provide rural electrification to Mozambique in the parish of Pessene, approximately 50 kilometres from the capital city, Maputo.
Minister Dipuo Peters of the Department of Energy launched the wind measurement work package of the South African wind atlas project on 28 September.
Since 2009 RWE, Linde and BASF have been testing new technology for separating carbon dioxide (CO2) from flue gas in a pilot plant at RWE’s Niederaussem power station near Cologne. The results of the practical test are now available: Compared to processes commonly run today, the innovative technology that captures CO2 by means of new chemical solvents can reduce energy input by about 20 percent.
Sasol flew the world’s first passenger aircraft exclusively using the company’s synthetic jet fuel. The fuel was produced by Sasol’s proprietary Coal to Liquids (CTL) process and it is the world’s only fully synthetic jet fuel to have received international approval as a commercial aviation turbine fuel.
Nigerian power utility, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), will be building an environmentally-friendly gas turbine power plant in Ajaokuta, located approximately 200 kilometres south of the capital Abuja. The €230-million, 434 MW power plant, called Geregu II, is scheduled to start commercial operation in late 2012.
The oil and gas industry is facing uncertainty due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year, followed by conflicting consumer and business confidence reports, mixed economic data, cutbacks in government as well as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
During the refuelling and maintenance period, a radiation contamination incident occurred at the Koeberg Power Station’s Unit 1 in Cape Town on 12 September. On 21 September, Eskom’s management assigned a technical team to review the incident and recommend steps to avoid a similar occurrence in future.
Marenica Energy is focused on the expansion and development of its 80%-owned Marenica Project in the uranium-rich Damara Province in Namibia. A recent scoping study found that the project in Namibia could deliver of 3.5-million pounds of uranium per annum per annum at the highly competitive operating cost of US$38 a pound.
The World Conference on Neutron Radiography was held on African soil for the first time from 3 – 8 October. According to the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa), using neutrons as an imaging probe unveils untapped areas worth exploring, such as hydrogen fuel cell optimisation, geosciences, palaeo-sciences and more.
Sasol’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for the domestic market, called Sasol Homegas, was recently implemented at the newly built Waterfall Country Estate in Midrand. According to, this estate is currently the largest property development in the country and the first to use this gas.
Leading rigid insulation supplier of eco-friendly thermoset products, Rigifoam, first introduced “green foams” into the African market in 2003. The company has continued to improve and expand their range of environmentally-friendly foams and 2 component systems.
Although the current energy landscape in South Africa is challenging for companies, there are still viable opportunities if they are proactive about their energy usage profile and choose their projects wisely, says Golder Associates energy specialist Paolo Gianadda.
Leading lighting retrofitting company, EcoLight Distributors, have been specialising in the commercial and industrial market for the last six years. Many high-profile companies have retrofitted their buildings and operations with Ecolight products and, due to the lifespan of the products, have been reaping the rewards of low maintenance and lower electricity bills. Some of these companies include the American Embassey, PPS, Anglo Coal, municipalities and banks.
As a result of severe power shortages in 2008 and 2009, Ethiopia’s government launched a project to transform the country’s approach to energy-efficiency by switching from incandescent light bulbs to CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps). The initiative was supported by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and managed by its Africa Energy Unit (AFEG).
The 21st prestigious eta Awards, sponsored by Eskom and the Department of Energy, was held on 4 November 2010. Awarded across nine major categories, last year’s competition attracted hundreds of entries from South Africans who were keen to share their energy saving innovations.
Johannesburg 4 November 2010 - Standard Bank has taken another major step towards becoming even more energy efficient and reducing its carbon footprint with the introduction of one of Gauteng’s largest solar hybrid energy efficient water-heating systems at its head office in Johannesburg.
The components of houses and buildings are huge sources of electricity usage. With South Africa’s rising electricity costs and an increased focus on sustainable building solutions, consumers and companies are continually looking for better, cost-effective alternatives to achieve thermal comfort in buildings without causing a hike in electricity costs.
It is a well known fact that South Africa is classified as a water scares country. It is also clear that the adequate supply of water for many areas in South Africa can be sustained only if immediate actions are taken to prevent imminent water shortages.
Access to cheap energy and the ability to generate, transmit and broadly distribute this electricity used to be easier than it is today. This old paradigm, however, can’t sustain energy delivery from fossil fuels while also meeting mandates for a cleaner, safer and more sustainable world.
The Power Technology Group has been awarded the US$23-million contract for the engineering, design, installation and commissioning of Eskom’s Ingula pumped storage project. The Ingula project is located on the border of KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State and it represents one of Eskom’s three major power generation projects.
Siemens presented advanced smart metering technology at this year’s Metering Europe conference and exhibition in Vienna. The technology incorporates automated metering, an information system and an Energy IP metering management system and acts as a data hub which integrates existing utility IT systems via a SAP-certified interface into the smart metering infrastructure.
Eskom’s Containerised Coal Terminal was launched at the end of October at the official opening of the Camden Power Station in Ermelo. Eskom and Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) developed the innovative container solution for the transportation of coal to Eskom’s power stations by rail.
Despite unstable political conditions and a small population, Gabon’s abundant natural resources and foreign support have helped to make the country one of the more prosperous African countries.
Ali Ben Bongo was elected as the president of Gabon in 2009. He is the son of El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, the previous president of Gabon, who was one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world. He has been dominating the political scene in this African country for over four decades. Since Gabon’s independence from France in 1960, only two autocratic presidents had ruled the country.
The UK government has launched a new interactive Google Earth map showing the impacts of a 4°C rise in world temperature. The multi platform map, which can be viewed at, pushes the barriers of Google Earth technology, highlighting some of the changes that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 4°C above the pre-industrial climate average. Things to note include the higher temperatures over land compared to the sea and the extreme temperature increases in the Arctic.
A new website has been launched to provide an overview of fast start climate change finance. The website, which can be viewed at, was initiated by the government of the Netherlands, with support from the governments of Costa Rica, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Normal, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.
“There remains a serious and significant greenhouse gap between the ambition of nations and science. This needs to be bridged if the world wants to have a chance of keeping a global temperature rise under 2ºC. Cancun offers the next opportunity to accelerate a transition to a low carbon, green economy,” said UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, at a Business for Environment (B4E) conference in Mexico City.
The governments of South Africa, Denmark and Mexico have established a troika “that facilitates close cooperation by the three governments on the ongoing climate change negotiations under the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)”. Last year’s climate change talk, COP15, was held in Denmark. This year’s talk will be in Mexico and the climate change talks of 2011 will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Department of Environmental Affairs embarked on a six-month long campaign to inspect compliance to environmental legislation throughout South Africa. The Environmental Management Inspectorate, commonly referred to as the Green Scorpions, will be carrying out compliance assessments.
WWF’s Living Planet Report is a health-check on the natural world and this report is launched every second year. The 2010 Living Planet Report aims to raise public awareness of the pressures on the biosphere and spreading the message that “business as usual” is not an option.
A study by the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) shows that global environmental damage caused by human activity in 2008 represented a monetary value of US$6.6-trillion, equivalent to 11% of the global GDP. The most environmentally damaging business sectors are utilities, oil and gas producers, and industrial metals and mining.
There are many myths and fears of implementing a carbon footprint strategy throughout an operation. This article, which was written by Andrew Johnston of Allied Electronics Corporation Limited (Altron), hopes to dispel some of these myths and provide practical advice on how to achieve a carbon footprint strategy.
The worldwide transportation industry accounts for 13% of global emissions, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Recent studies have shown that only 9% of transport companies are currently investing in low carbon initiatives, proving that the sector is lagging behind in terms of carbon reduction strategies.
Uganda has launched a municipal waste compost program that promotes solid waste composting in urban areas. This project has made Uganda the first African country to successfully register a Programme of Activities (POA) that will reduce methane emissions into the environment. The project is being done under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and it is the first of its kind in the world, according to the World Bank.
A new report by Friends of the Earth, entitled Africa: up for Grabs, reveals that the amount of land being taken in Africa to meet northern countries’ increasing demand for biofuels is underestimated and out of control.

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