Recent media articles have suggested that there may be issues regarding the safety of solar water heaters in scenarios of low water pressure or water outages as may be expected during the upcoming months during the water crisis. However, this is incorrect - there is no risk for most correctly-installed systems. Please see this advisory, written after consulting with experts in the industry, from the City of Cape Town on the matter.
Save 25% or more on your electricity bill by upgrading to a solar water heater – the best investment you can make right now. See more on the costs and saving benefits at our FAQ section.
A typical household of four can save 1/3 off their electricity bill, and the savings will pay back the cost of the solar water heater in 4-6 years. With a lifespan of 15-20 years or more, that usually means over R65 000 of free electricity.*
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.
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.
If you apply for bond finance for a new home, or plan on making additions or renovations, then adding the cost of a solar water heater (or heat pump) generally makes good investment sense. You could save about R5 000 or more per year if you have a 200-litre solar water heater installed for a household of four people*.
Electricity prices are rising and the country’s power shortage will be with us for years to come. If there is Eskom's load shedding again, you can rest assured that you will have hot water if you install a solar water heater - even if there is no electricity for 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.
If you can’t easily finance the purchase through your bond, most City Accredited Service Providers offer financing options so you can purchase a solar water heater with no upfront payment and regular monthly instalments. 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 R5 000 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.
DISCLAIMER. The typical savings figures provided on this website are only indicative, and are purely for information purposes. They are based on electricity tariffs from the City of Cape Town, electricity consumption research and typical savings which can and have been achieved by different kinds of households in Cape Town. This information does not intend to provide any express or implied recommendation, guidance or proposal with respect to any particular purchases or investments. Households must investigate for themselves, to establish what is most appropriate for their home context and financial situation.
Getting a quality solar water heater has never been simpler, easier or more affordable:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
Once your solar water heater in installed, you can have hot water even if there is no electricity for 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.
Applying your insurance pay-out 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 R5 000 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.
If your geyser hasn’t burst yet, but is a few years old already then plan ahead to upgrade to solar for when it does burst or fail.
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.
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:
There is a range of high-pressure solar water heaters on the market, but only systems approved by the SABS are allowed to be installed and the responsibility is with the buyer to make sure that the service providers provides proof of certification or approval from the SABS for the system sold. The buyer must make sure that providing certificates of compliance for both the electrical and plumbing aspects of the system installation must be on the quotation, and after the installation the original electrical certificate of compliances must stay with the owner of the house. The white copy of the plumbing certificate of compliance stays with the buyer and the blue copy is kept by the plumber.
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.
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 since 2010 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.
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.
UNEP allocated US$244 000, which has supported the following (2012-2013):
EEP provided 105 000 Euro (2011-2013): for technical support by SEA to establish the solar water heater programme.
REEEP provided funding (2009-2011) for:
Technical support by SEA to establish the solar water heater programme.