R25 million solar energy project launched

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pretoria - Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, has launched a R25 million Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) that not only promotes jobs and training but energy efficiency adaptation as well.

The Kuyasa Clean Development Mechanism Project (CDM) project involves the retrofitting of solar water heater (SWHs), insulated ceilings and energy efficient lighting in over 2 000 low-cost homes.

Mabudafhasi said the project should be seen within the context of government's pledge to deliver a better life to all.

"Our democratic government is determined and dedicated to improving the lives of all our people, irrespective of race, religion, creed and so forth. This has motivated us to tackle the scourge of unemployment head-on. We are pulling all the resources at our disposal to achieve this goal," Mabudafhasi said.

The project has created 85 full-time job opportunities for women, youth and the disabled and over 16 500 temporary jobs.

"It is encouraging that the community has taken ownership of the project in line with its motto- Siyazenzela [We are doing it for ourselves]," said Mabudafhasi.

The project also aims to reduce fossil fuel based consumption, and hence carbon dioxide emissions.

This is done through three interventions in low-income housing units. These are the installation of solar energy heaters, the retrofitting of compact fluorescent light bulbs and the introduction of ceiling insulation. The benefits of the project are multi-faceted.

These include reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and respiratory-related diseases and saving in the cost of energy services

Mabudafhasi said the extensive use of the clean development mechanism intervention will lead to the reduction of pollution caused by the use of non-renewable energy sources.

"We simply cannot afford not to roll-out energy efficiency intervention in the low income housing sector. Currently, an estimated three million households make use of firewood to meet their basic energy requirements.

"There is huge potential to increase the contribution of renewable energy to the total energy mix. This can only contribute to improving the lives of all the people."