Banking firm Standard Bank reported on Friday that the company has registered a programme of activities (PoA) with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) executive board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that would facilitate the supply, installation and financing of solar water heaters (SWH) in South Africa.
The PoA is aimed at providing hot water services for low-income households.
Installers of these heaters can now register projects of 1 000 heaters or more with the Standard Bank low-pressure SWH programme, earning euros from the carbon credits generated by their projects and sold on their behalf by Standard Bank’s carbon trading division.
Standard Bank carbon trading division head Geoff Sinclair said that the process of registering for a CDM programme was onerous and that the selling of credits required specialist knowledge. “The programme relieves small to medium enterprise SWH installers of such problems, while giving access to additional revenue streams at the nominal cost we charge to do the administration of registering for our programme.”
Sinclair also alluded to the bank’s up-and-running programme with Solar Academy of Sub Saharan Africa (Sassa). “To date, we have installed roughly 80 000 low-pressure solar water heaters, and we are now planning on installing the next 110 000 units,” he said.
While the programme with Sassa was restricted to one particular SHW, the UN approval meant that Standard Bank could install a whole range of SWHs.
“The programme also gives a sizable boost to the government’s target of rolling out one-million solar water heaters by 2014. As it provides training for technicians to install and maintain solar systems, it would lead to skills development and to employment opportunities in the solar sector. The provision of hot water to residents would help improve municipal and local government service delivery,” the bank said in a statement.
Energy Minister Dipuo Peters recently said that the Department of Energy had installed over 281 000 SWH by the end of March, exceeding its target of 250 041 installations in the 2011/12 financial year.
Speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg, Standard Bank group sustainability management director Karin Ireton said that the country needed to move to a greener, more sustainable path when it came to economic development.
Further, the banking group believes its programme would help reduce pressure on demand and instances of load shedding. As part of its commitment to encouraging sustainable energy use in South Africa, it is also registering with the UNFCCC’s corporate energy efficient lighting, open access carbon project, which would enable corporates to reduce their electricity bills by up to 25% and earn carbon-credit revenues by retrofitting their properties with technologically advanced and energy efficient light bulbs.