Solar Water Heaters and Partnership Pays at Joe Slovo Housing in Langa
More than 500 beneficiary families are benefiting from hot water and reduced electricity costs at the Joe Slovo Housing Project in Langa, Cape Town, thanks to the installation of Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) at the development.
The Western Cape Department of Human Settlements is committed to ensuring energy efficiency through the optimum use of resources, and also in enhancing human settlements delivery through partnerships with other stakeholders in the human settlements field. The individual housing subsidy quantum, currently at R160 573 per house, does not make provision for geysers or heated water, and therefore such additions must currently be provided through partnership and funded through sources other than government.
The Joe Slovo Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) were made possible after the South African National Department of Human Settlements received a funding commitment from the Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA) Environmental programme to promote the mainstreaming of energy efficiency in the low-income housing sector. This support brought to fruition the development of the solar water heating project involving the installation, to date of over 500 Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) in the government delivered low-income housing project in the Joe Slovo Settlement, Precinct 3 in Cape Town.
This flagship project is an example of Government’s current approach toward creating sustainable human settlements as articulated in its Breaking New Ground (2004) housing policy. Breaking New Ground (BNG) is a shift away from the previous RDP approach (1994-2004) of delivering houses lacking in sustainable qualities to one where housing delivery is participative, multi- dimensional, allowing people to be part of sustainable human settlements rather than simply recipients of a government delivered house.
The partnership with DANIDA has assisted in creating a development partially reliant on ‘green energy’, and the Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) at Joe Slovo have been positioned to ensure maximum effectiveness. The ideal situation would be for all SWHs to be placed on North facing roofs, however, due to the high density nature of the development, it was not possible to build all the units with North facing roofs and as a result, the Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) had to be installed on roofs of different pitches, as per the data below.
- North facing roof: at 43 degrees facing north (optimal)
- South facing roof: at 17 degrees elevation facing north
- West and east facing roof: 43 degrees facing east and west respectively.
In order to ensure optimum service delivery, the performance of the Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) was monitored in 2013, and the results indicate that regardless of the orientation of the Solar Water Heaters (SWHs), water of sufficient heat is delivered by the Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) through both winter and summer months. The data is presented in the graph below, with the water temperatures on the left hand side.
The partnership with DANIDA and careful installation and monitoring of the Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) means that the beneficiaries are receiving an endless supply of heated water, at no cost to themselves, through both summer and winter. The savings from electricity can be spent on other priorities, such as home maintenance or financial savings. The Department will continue to stay open to partnerships that can lower the costs of services to beneficiaries.