Solar Panels for Townships and Low-Cost Housing
Because South Africa has one of the highest levels of sunshine globally, it would be obvious to install solar panels in townships and low-cost housing. Complete cost control and end-to-end project management is key to successful, seamless, profitable delivery of such projects in the construction industry in the future. But sadly, little to date has been done to use the power of the sun to generate electricity in this county, and yet it could become the only alternative when Earth’s fossil fuels become exhausted.
However, it is predicted that more than 2.5% of the electricity needs globally will be provided by solar energy by the year 2020. In the wake of the power crisis in South Africa, the next step would seem to be to implement and incorporate “greening” projects into township homes and low-cost housing which could take some of the pressure off the energy supply in South Africa. Rising energy costs are making themselves felt in all South African households across the board, therefore the “green phenomenon” is on the increase:
1. The Industrial Development Corporation has earmarked R25-billion to invest in green industries for the next four years.
2. Renewable energy is an essential part of South Africa’s low emissions energy mix and will play an important role in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Green projects not only help South Africa to reduce its carbon footprint, but it also helps to create more jobs and more importantly bring economic benefit to rural areas and townships. Renewable energy projects such as wind farms, waste-to-energy power, as well as bio-fuels production, provide potential for rural upliftment.
4. Amongst other projects, the IDC has approved funding for a project to support the roll-out of 200,000 solar heaters for low-cost housing developments over the next couple of years.
5. This will facilitate 500 jobs across the country and is part of government’s target to install one million solar heaters locally by 2015 and to support local manufacturing.
Solar panels for townships and low cost housing is the next step in the right direction as far as saving electricity is concerned. It makes sense to use what we have in abundance in South Africa, and in this instance it is the sunshine which is free and readily available.