At first glance, Eskom’s solar water heating rebate system sounds like a great benefit for those of us looking to go green; the prospect of a partial repayment can make the initial cost of installing an eco-friendly water heating solution in your home or office seem far less intimidating. It’s understandable that you would want to find the most cost-effective way to implement your new water heating system, but is the Eskom rebate offering really the best way of doing that? Let’s take a closer look at the ins-and-outs of the system and see how these could affect the process for you as a customer.
Firstly, the rebate initiative is system-based rather than product-based, and the amount of the rebate is based on the performance of each system – this is determined by a series of compulsory tests conducted by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), designed to measure efficiency and reliability. Naturally, the better the system’s performance, the higher the rebate for you, the customer, will be.
However, this means that in order to qualify for a rebate, every component of your chosen solar water heating system (namely the pump, reservoir tank, heat exchange system and solar collectors) must have the approval of the SABS. If your Eskom-accredited supplier pays the hefty annual fee required for the necessary SABS testing, the products you purchase from them will be priced significantly higher than those you could purchase from a supplier who doesn’t endorse the rebate system.
There are also strict installation requirements should you wish to claim a rebate; your solar water heating system must be set up by an Eskom-approved installation company. In some cases, these installers may also charge a higher price for their services.
In the past, the installation company would take responsibility for claiming the rebate back from the Government on your behalf, but now you as the end customer are considered responsible for claiming back your own rebate.
Ultimately, the best reasons to invest in a solar water heating system remain the same regardless of whether you take advantage of the Eskom rebate offering. Installing one of these systems will reduce the carbon emissions from your home or office by a massive 2000kg a year, and reduce your electricity bill by an average of 40% a month. While the average cost of these systems is still relatively high, it has dropped significantly thanks to the advancement of green technology, and will continue to fall even further in the coming years.
Even without the solar rebate, these water heating systems have a payback period of 4 to 8 years, and the average system’s lifespan is 20 to 35 years. All things considered, it’s more rewarding to work with a trustworthy supplier and installer who can guarantee you the best possible value for money. While the Eskom rebate system requires you to carefully weigh the benefits and disadvantages, a reputable supplier will be able to offer you affordable quality and useful advice no matter what.