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WHY GET A SOLAR WATER HEATER?

It Saves Electricity and Money:

Save 25% or more on your electricity bill by upgrading to a solar water heater – the best investment you can make right now.

A typical household of four will save 1/3 off their electricity bill, and the savings will pay back the cost of the solar water heater in four years. With a lifespan of 15-20 years or more, that means over R50 000 of free electricity.*

It’s Easy:

Choose a City Accredited Service Provider, and you’re on your way. You can be sure that they will deliver expert advice, service and installation of SABS-approved quality systems. Our Accredited Service Providers will give you advice on what geyser to get and how to deal with a replacement of an old or burst geyser.

Upgrade after a Burst Geyser:

Should your electric geyser burst or fail, it would be the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a solar water heater. Preparing in advance for who to call and what geyser would suit your needs will give you peace of mind for when it happens, and a plan for upgrading to solar that would save you money and provide hot water for years to come. Contact the City’s Accredited Service Providers for the best possible advice, and discuss the plan with your insurer.

Enjoy Peace of Mind:

Electricity prices are rising and the country’s power shortage will be with us for years to come. But even with Eskom’s load shedding, you can rest assured that you will have hot water if you install a solar water heater – even if there is no electricity for several days. It’s one less thing to worry about in life: the product quality has been verified, and warranties, certificates of compliance and service contracts are all provided, thanks to the City’s accreditation programme. And the City helps ensure installers meet and sustain their strict quality standards.

It’s Affordable:

The main banks and financial institutions are working with City Accredited Service Providers so you can purchase a solar water heater with no upfront payment and regular monthly instalments and you can easily finance the purchase through your bond. As electricity tariffs increase in the years to come, installing a solar water heater will give you long term savings. Typically, a 200-litre solar water heater can provide savings of R4 600 or more per year to a household of 4 people.


* Every household is different. Check the FAQs for more detailed information on likely savings, payback periods and more.

HOW TO GET A SOLAR WATER HEATER?

Getting a quality solar water heater has never been simpler, easier or more affordable:

1. Select any of the Accredited Service Providers.

The list is available here. You can choose with confidence and peace of mind knowing they all meet rigorous standards for their competence, quality of local products used, quality of installation, customer service, maintenance and other aspects of their business, and they also agree to uphold a code of conduct regarding how and what they sell, how they service their customers, how they respond to any complaints and more.

2. Decide on the right solar water heater for your household.

Every family is different, every home is different. There are also many different kinds of systems and you may find it helpful to have some familiarity with the different options out there - and our solar water heater faqs are a great place to start. Your Accredited Service Provider will advise you regarding the best options to suit your specific needs and together you can make the right decision. Each of the solar water heater systems they offer through the programme are SABS certified - that means each individual component of the system as well as the entire system - so all are top quality.

3. Choose a payment plan that is right for you.

Every Accredited Service Provider offers access to convenient instalment financing, giving you the choice of paying off your new solar water heater over time while you enjoy the savings from lower electricity bills. There may be some differences in the financing terms offered through the Accredited Service Providers, with some partnering with one or more of the major banks and others offering alternative financing arrangements, but all the instalment payment plans are offered by registered and regulated financial institutions. The lenders are also likely to check your credit rating before offering any instalment terms. Some Accredited Service Providers offer rental schemes as well. You do have the option of providing your own financing, such as accessing a bond, or you can choose to pay for your purchase all at once.

4. Enjoy your piece of the sun!

Once installed, you will start enjoying the benefits of lower electricity bills, knowing you have also lowered your carbon footprint and helped ensure there will be enough electricity available for all South Africans. And with significant amounts of locally manufactured or assembled components in your solar water heater, you have also helped our local economy create jobs and stay competitive. Well done!

QUESTIONS TO ASK AN ACCREDITED SERVICE PROVIDER.

  • How do the structure, angle and position of my roof affect the solar water heater options available to me?
  • How do the size of my household and our patterns of behaviour affect the solar water heater options you recommend?
  • Can you help me work out the total costs (installation, maintenance, financing, any other costs) and likely savings (from electricity savings) for the system you recommend over the next five years (i.e., the warranty period)?
  • What is your maintenance plan and how much does it cost?
  • What other things will I need to do to keep my solar water heater working well (e.g., wash off the collector, keep trees trimmed back)?
  • What is the warranty on the system and installation and what are the conditions to keep it valid?
  • Is there an additional cost to receive copies of certificates of compliance that the plumbing and electrical work on the installation meet SANS10106 and SANS10142/1?
  • Is a heat pump a good option for my household, and how does it compare to the best solar water heater option for us in terms of cost, savings, quality,warranty and maintenance?

Handy checklist of reminders along the way:

  • Before quotation:
    • The Accredited Service Provider’s accreditation reference number from the City of Cape Town, checked against the current listing on the website, www.SavingElectricity.org.za or with the Programme Management Unit 021 487 2010

  • Quotations:
    • Written quotation showing each component of the system to be installed, and providing all costs associated with the purchase and installation. Confirm the costs and terms of the maintenance plan.
    • Written confirmation that the system, including all of its components, is covered by warranties to be free of defects for a minimum of five years (subject to annual maintenance).
    • Written maintenance plan clearly indicating service levels (e.g., response times), coverage and costs.

  • Financing (if provided by Accredited Service Provider):
    • All terms and conditions of instalment financing offered, including direct contact information with a relevant, informed person at the financial institution.

  • Before committing:

  • After installation:
    • Copies of certificates of compliance that the plumbing and electrical work on the installations meet SANS10106 and SANS10142/1 (note: may come only at an additional cost)

BURST GEYSER? HOW TO REPLACE WITH A SOLAR WATER HEATER NOW.

We’re sorry your geyser has burst, but the good news is that this is the perfect opportunity for you to upgrade to a solar water heater. Here’s how:

Work with your insurer:

Call your insurer and tell them you want to replace your broken geyser with a solar water heater. Many insurers in South Africa do not yet have coverage designed to help you with this, but you should clarify this about your specific policy. Most likely you will need to request a cash payout of the replacement value of your geyser from your buildings policy.

Choose an Accredited Service Provider:

Contact a few of our City-Accredited Service Providers and let them know that you have an urgent need for an installation due to a burst geyser. Many Accredited Service Providers offer 48 or even 24 hour installation after a burst geyser.

Select a quote:

Get quotes from the Accredited Service Providers and select your preferred service provider. Get a confirmed installation date and time. Be sure to confirm with your insurance company that your preferred Accredited Service Provider is suitably accredited within their requirements as a plumber to respond to a burst geyser situation.

Enjoy peace of mind:

Once your solar water heater in installed, you can have hot water even if there is no electricity for several days. It’s one less thing to worry about in life: the product quality has been verified, and warranties, certificates of compliance and service contracts are all provided, thanks to the City’s accreditation programme. And the City will help ensure installers meet and sustain their strict quality standards.

Save money:

Applying your insurance payout drops the average payback period for a solar water heater by more than a third, even if you have to finance it. This adds substantially to your savings, given the typical lifespan for a solar water heater is 15 years, and can be much more if properly maintained.
Typically, a 200-litre solar water heater can provide savings of R4 600 or more per year to a household of 4 people.

Don’t let the upfront cost or need for financing be a barrier to making the change to a Solar Water Heater either, there are also rental options from some Accredited Service Providers. Now is your best chance to switch and save.
Don’t let the possibility of your household going a day without hot water keep you from upgrading to solar. Remember: The country’s power shortage will be with us for years to come, and you’re likely to have problems getting hot water in the months and years ahead anyway if you don’t change to solar. Annual tariff increases will also continue for many years. Now is the best moment to upgrade! A day or two of patience now can bring many years of savings - and peace of mind - to come.

PLAN AHEAD TO UPGRADE TO SOLAR IF YOUR
GEYSER BURSTS.

Download our handy checklist to help you plan ahead to upgrade to solar when your geyser next bursts or fails.

    Select your Solar Water Heater and Accredited Service Provider:

  • Speak to a number of City-Accredited Service Providers and get quotes for a solar water heater that best suits your needs. If you know you are not going to have the solar water heater installed until your geyser bursts, let your preferred Accredited Service Provider know this.
  • Every family is different, every home is different. There are also many different kinds of systems and you may find it helpful to have some familiarity with the different options out there our solar water heater FAQs are a great place to start). Your Accredited Service Provider will advise you regarding the best options to suit your specific needs and together you can make the right decision.
  • Confirm with your Accredited Service Provider how quickly they will be able to install the solar water heater after your geyser does burst in the future. Many Accredited Service Providers offer 48 or even 24 hour installation after a burst geyser.
  • Print out the quotation with your Accredited Service Provider's emergency phone number highlighted on it, and keep this in a safe place. Know where it is so you can call right away after the burst geyser.
  • Check back with your Accredited Service Provider every 6 to 12 months to confirm the cost estimates and that the technologies have not changed in a way that might affect your household’s best choice. Get an updated quote – including another site visit from an Accredited Service Provider if required.

Understand your insurance:

  • Thoroughly check your insurance policy wording and confirm that you are appropriately covered for the replacement costs of the geyser, any burst pipes and resultant damage to ceilings, walls, carpets, lighting and electrical wiring, etc.

  • Be sure to check coverage of both buildings and household contents. A buildings policy covers bricks and mortar and fixtures in the home (e.g. geyser, pipes, ceilings, etc). Household contents cover is separate and insures items such as furniture or appliances damaged by water.

  • Confirm with your insurance company that your preferred Accredited Service Provider is suitably accredited as a plumber to respond to a burst geyser situation.

  • Some insurers offer the option to replace a damaged geyser with a solar water heater or heat pump, allowing the client to pay in the difference between the insurance pay out and the cost of the more energy-efficient water heating system.

If you do not have this option on your insurance policy, or cannot afford to pay in the difference:

  • Many insurers allow the pay out value for replacing the geyser to be given in cash if requested. This can then be applied to the purchase of a solar water heater or heat pump as part of a down payment to reduce the amount that would need to be financed. Applying your insurance payout drops the average payback period for a solar water heater by more than a third, even if you have to finance it. This adds substantially to your savings, given the typical lifespan for a solar water heater is 15 years, and can be much more if properly maintained. Typically, a 200-litre solar water heater can provide savings of R4 600 or more per year to a household of 4 people. Don’t let the need for financing be a barrier to making the change to a solar water heater either, as there are also rental options from some Accredited Service Providers.

To reduce the risk of damage from a burst geyser:

  • Ensure you have a drip tray installed beneath your geyser, to catch any leaking water. In a major burst, most if not all of the water will be directed from the tray via a pipe to the outside of the roof which will minimise damage to ceilings and household contents.

Reduce the chances of your geyser bursting:

  • To prolong the life of a geyser it helps to have it serviced every three to four years. Servicing typically includes draining the geyser, checking the sacrificial anode, heating element and thermostat and replacing if necessary. Lime scale and sludge are also removed from the tank and the entire installation checked for leaks.

Know how to shut your geyser off:

  • When your geyser does burst, you’ll need to shut off the water main as well as the geyser switch on your electricity distribution board. Know where your water mains and geyser inlet stop cocks are located beforehand. Be sure your geyser switch on your electricity distribution board is clearly marked.

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME.

What is the programme?

The City’s Residential solar water heater Programme helps residents by carefully vetting solar water heater service providers and accrediting those meeting rigorous standards for their competence, quality of products used, quality of installation, customer service, maintenance and other aspects of their business. These Accredited Service Providers also agree to uphold a code of conduct regarding how and what they sell, how they service their customers, how they respond to any complaints and more. While any service provider based in the Cape Town area can apply for accreditation at no cost, only those meeting these standards will be accredited.

The programme has a number of components:

Accrediting solar water heater service providers that consumers can have confidence in. The list is available here. Facilitation of affordable finance from major banks and other financial service providers for HP-solar water heater purchases through monthly instalments to reduce up-front costs and help savings from lower electricity bills offset much of the cost of the solar water heater A solar water heater Programme Management and Liaison Unit (PMU) to ensure quality standards are maintained by Accredited Service Providers and to assist in the resolution of any disputes between consumers and suppliers, should these arise.

What does accreditation mean for customers?

Accredited Service Providers have proven they meet the rigorous technical, business, ethical and service standards set by the City. These include, for example, the following:

  • Only selling and installing SABS-certified quality high-pressure solar water heater products meeting SANS1307.
  • Providing certificates of compliance that the plumbing and electrical work on the installations meet SANS10106 and SANS10142/1.
  • Only installing products where the component parts are warranted free from defect for a period of five years (subject to annual maintenance).
  • Offering instalment finance for the products they sell to suitably qualified (creditworthy) customers.
  • Operating their company on sound financial footing, having a valid tax clearance certificate, public liability insurance, in good standing with their bank, and having a valid occupational health and safety certificate.
  • Agreeing to comply with a code of conduct that obligates them to, among other requirements, adhere to the following:
    • Market honestly and using plain language without high pressure sales, with a sales agreement in plain language.
    • Provide their reference accreditation number to allow customers to verify their standing with the City as Accredited Service Providers.
    • Comply with the Consumer Protection Act (2008)
    • Offer instalment finance compliant with the National Credit Act (2005).
    • Hold an adequate stock of critical spare parts to ensure customers do not go more than 24 hours without hot water due to a lack of critical spare parts.

Accredited products

There is a range of high-pressure solar water heaters on the market, but only the following meet the strict quality and local sourcing requirements of the City of Cape Town’s accreditation programme. Note that there may be different sizes and capacities of each of these systems and that the products might be amended according to the Department of Trade and Industry’s local content criteria.

  1. Solarmax systems (Solarmax panel and Xstream geyser)
  2. Novasun systems (Ikhwezi Solar panel and WE geyser)
  3. Powerz-on systems (EITHER Powerz-on panel and WE geyser OR Powerz-on panel and Kwikot geyser)
  4. Kwiksol systems (Kwikot panel and geyser)
  5. Suntank systems (Suntank panels and geysers)

These are the ONLY systems that Accredited Service Providers are allowed to offer through the programme.

What is the Programme Management Unit?

The Programme Management Unit (PMU) manages accreditation of service providers and also conducts random inspections on installations to see that the contracted Code of Conduct is being adhered to by Accredited Service Providers. It also endeavours to assist in the resolution of disputes between such service providers and their customers.

Why is the City doing this?

The City of Cape Town wishes to encourage local residents to move towards greater use of sustainable energy by installing appliances that are more energy efficient, reduce emissions relating to coal-based energy generation, and which assist in the national need for better demand-side management, particularly during this period of supply-side difficulties for power generation. For that reason it has been implementing an Electricity Saving Campaign for the past three years and a most recent focus is the “Invest to Save” campaign designed specifically to encourage the installation of High-pressure solar water heaters (HP-solar water heater’s) by mid to high income residential property owners.

The City of Cape Town would like to thank the following organisations for their invaluable contribution to the City’s Residential High Pressure solar water heater Programme.

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Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA)

a non-profit organisation based in Cape Town, has contributed significant expertise and constant support to the City’s Programme by providing technical support, project management support and by securing funding for the Programme. In particular the City would like to acknowledge the critical role that Andrew Janisch has played with such dedication in getting the programme up and running.

Sustainable Energy Africa in partnership with the City raised funds from the following funders. We would hereby like to gratefully acknowledge the generosity and support of these funders. The Programme would not have been possible without their commitment.

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UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme)

UNEP allocated US$244 000, which has supported the following (2012-2013):

  • Employment of two staff who were seconded to the City for 7 months to establish the solar water heater Programme Management Unit (PMU).
  • Development of the communications campaign for the Programme
  • Technical and administrative support from local and international experts.
    EEP (Energy and Environment Partnership Programme with Southern and East Africa)
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EEP (Energy and Environment Partnership Programme with Southern and East Africa)

EEP provided 105 000 Euro (2011-2013): for technical support by SEA to establish the solar water heater programme.

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REEEP (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership)

REEEP provided funding (2009-2011) for:

Technical support by SEA to establish the solar water heater programme.