Thanks to Solar: Warm Water for South Africa

South Africa has one of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world. Therefore the concept of heating water with the sun is logical. Houses for low income households do not provide any appliances to heat domestic hot water. Traditionally electric geysers or paraffin stoves are used for this purpose and due to the historically low cost of electricity, alternatives have not been considered.

The project aims to install one million low pressure water heaters to low cost housing units in South Africa and contribute to better living condition for low income households. The Solar Academy of Sub-Saharan Africa (SASSA ) is implementing the project.


The implementation costs will be covered by a solar thermal fund provided by the South African energy provider Eskom and carbon finance. Due to the very low operational cost, solar thermal water heaters offer a viable alternative for hot water preparation at low cost.

The project aims at replacing electric kettles or electric and paraffin stoves and hence displace carbon intensive fossil fuels currently used for water heating.

Ecological effects:

  • Avoidance of methane and nitrous oxide.
  • Better air quality due to reduction of fossil fuel consumption.

Positive social and economic side effects:

  • A continuing provision of hot water for low income households is established which leads to better living conditions.
  • Paraffin stoves are substituted what leads to better air quality and less respiratory diseases.
  • The project has created 300 jobs – 100 of which will be permanent, taking care of the ongoing maintenance of the units. Personnel has been trained.
  • Households save money as operational costs are very low.
  • The weak electricity grid is stabilised as demand on the grid for electricity to heat water is reduced.


Offset now!

Solarkraftanlage in Sambia