An assessment of financial incentives for encouraging South Africa's domestic solar water heater market

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

SA has a demand for domestic hot water, which is supplied by a number of different technologies. For a number of reasons, including health reasons and versatility, Government has encouraged the demand for electricity to meet domestic requirements. But currently there is a shortage of electricity supply, with negative impacts for the development of SA. Solar water heating (SWH) is a renewable energy technology that could relieve some of the demand for electricity, and the aim of this study is to assess which types of national financial incentive programmes should be implemented in order to encourage the use of SWH systems in households, within the context of SA's energy policy and the current electricity crisis. However, only hybrid SWH technologies were considered, due to a lack of information. A review of literature shows that domestic SWH technology use is uncommon, resulting from households preferring other technologies for reasons of cost and convenience. The modelling of current and hypothetical scenarios of energy consumption for domestic water heating show that the increased use of hybrid SWH technology would benefit SA's sustainable development. A literature review was used to identify the barriers stopping these benefits from being translated into the domestic sector. A literature review of energy policy documents confirmed SA's commitment to sustainable development and introduced a number of developments intended to reduce the barriers to renewable energy technologies. Investment incentives and set-asides were identified as potential financial incentive options for SA. A literature review of the SWH market identified the existing structures and capacity of expertise, and identified options for reducing SWH barriers. A criteria analysis was performed on a set-aside option and investment incentive options, which included a direct subsidy, an income tax deduction, and an interest rate subsidy. The criteria used for this analysis were derived from this study and a report of international experiences, and the analysis provided an assessment of the suitability of each of these financial incentives. The assessment resulted in the recommendation that a direct subsidy programme be implemented, possibly using a system of Tradable Renewable Energy Certificates (TRECs), which could allow for compatibility with developments that could enhance the success of the programme.

Includes bibliographical references (p. 102-104).