Nelson Mandela Bay to pilot grid solar home systems for informal settlements

OCTOBER 13, 2014

Nelson Mandela Bay will be one of the first municipalities in the country to install a 12-volt Solar Home System as a pilot project within urban informal settlements.

The Electricity and Energy Directorate states in a report to the Infrastructure, Engineering and Energy Committee that meets this week that the informal settlements referred to are those on un proclaimed sites.

The report says that the aim is to meet government’s mandate of reaching universal access using grid and non-grid technologies.

It says that in terms of the Integrated National Electrification Programme (INET), Nelson Mandela Bay has been allocated R22 million for non-grid solar home systems in informal dwellings as a pilot project.

It adds that because of “the experimental nature” of the project, the metro has entered into a Service Level Agreement with the Department of Energy “to regulate the requirements and conditions of all crucial elements of the project.

“To access the outcome of the project, it will have to be evaluated over a period of five years. The guarantees offered by the supplier and manufacturer of the equipment will be considered in the evaluation phase of the tenders.”

The report says that the first phase of the project is expected to consist of approximately 3 000 installations, adding the basic Photo Voltaic System will include one PV panel, a battery, charge controller, four LED lights with switches and a 12V car cigarette lighter socket mobile for a phone charger. In addition, 50 solar-power streetlights/floodlights will be installed.

It says that additional items were also called for “with the intention that should additional funding become available, cooking appliances such as Gel Stoves could possible be provided”.

The report says that that contract will run for three years from the date the tender is adjudicated with the first phase to be completed in seven months and followed by the evaluation, monitoring and maintenance phase.

The report adds that a possibility of a next phase could “become a reality if the outcomes prove to be successful,” which would mean an additional total of 9 000 units. - metrominutes