Climate change is one of the biggest threats to all the people of South Africa. Recent droughts across much of the country may already be forgotten, but for the Western and Eastern Cape, the crisis of dwindling water reserves and poor rainfall expectations is a potential Armageddon.
Electricity pollution is linked to climate change. For every kWh consumed over 1kg of carbon is emitted and over 1 litre of water is used. South Africa continues to have one of the worst carbon footprints in the world.
Renewables is one of the answers to not only a cleaner power supply but also a major contributor towards reducing carbon emissions and reducing water consumption.
South Africa’s large-scale renewables program has stalled, with less than 4% contribution to the grid. Going forward new power generation from renewables is cheaper than both coal and nuclear, but government or at least Eskom prefer more pollution in preference to clean energy.
It is up to the South Africa people to start making the change to renewables, and help save South Africa from climate change.
South Africa has one of the 3 best climates in the world for solar energy.
This means that electricity consumers can embrace energy efficiency with both solar water heating, saving electricity used for heating water, and rooftop solar electric (PV), used for generating electricity for immediate use or stored into batteries for later consumption.
The good news is that as the price of electricity has gone up and up, solar water heating is at 2017 already cheaper than buying from Eskom or the municipal reseller. In fact over the next 10 years the effective savings will be 80% less than staying with Eskom, or put another way the investment returns on capital invested will be up to 850%.
Electric geyser water heating in this country consumes around 15% -18% of Eskom’s power output, and accounts for 35%-60% of the home’s electricity bill. By going solar the homeowner (a typical 3-4 person home) will be far better off financially. Carbon savings will be around 3,5 tons per annum. Eskom will also save around 4,000 litres of water in making that electricity.
The financial and carbon figures are not yet as good for solar electric generation. But within a few years they will be as the price of electricity can only go up.
For the poorer in society solar may not be an option. Moving to gas for cooking in preference to electricity is a cheaper investment, will save money and also reduce carbon emissions and save water.
The fastest way of South Africa contributing to climate change reductions is to go solar at home and business, cook on gas, and to use energy efficient lighting.