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eThekwini Champions Solar PV Launching the Durban Solar City Program

By eThekweni Energy Office on 27 November 2013

EThekwini Municipality is leading the green revolution in Durban by launching the Durban Solar City Program. This program has been launched with an exciting study into current and potential future investment in Solar PV in the city. The findings of the study showed that solar Photo Voltaic (PV) is indeed a green technology with a future.

The study was carried out on behalf of the eThekwini Municipality by independent consultants, Camco Clean Energy and EA Energy EAB Astrum Energy (Pty) Ltd. Despite cost being a large barrier to investment in Solar, the study found that 30% of large industries within the eThekwini area are considering investing in solar PV within the next year. The reasons cited for this potential investment were financial savings and care for the environment.

Ten out of the thirty largest industries in eThekwini were interviewed telephonically to ascertain their views on Solar PV and green technologies. While the majority of these industries had not yet invested in Solar PV, with the price of these technologies decreasing in recent years, this may be set to change. Derek Morgan, Senior Manager of the Energy Office said "€œthere is a lot of potential for job creation and economic development opportunities in the solar sector. But we need to manage this transition in a way that doesn't impact the stability of the electricity grid€". The study also ascertained that cost remains the largest barrier to investment in solar PV for large industry as well as the business and residential sectors. The residential sector also provided interesting results with 6.7% of those who completed the survey having already invested in solar PV and a further 34.5% saying they would consider it within the next year. Approximately a third of the business sector also stated that they would consider investment within the next year.

With the popularity of green technologies on the increase and barriers such as cost and perceptions around the complexity and reliability of the technologies on the decrease, solar PV is forging a place for itself within the energy market.

This is particularly relevant in the face of growing environmental concerns and electricity tariff increases, consumers are starting to look around for a viable alternative to conventional power. Solar PV is fast becoming a more accepted and affordable option for many consumers. "eThekwini Municipality has approved several connection of roof-top PV installations"€, said Dr Susanna Godehart , International Transactional Officer of the Energy Office "and it is expected that the cost of PV will reach grid parity in around five years"€ said Godehart.

Having successfully hosted COP17 in Durban in 2011, the Durban Solar City program signifies eThekwini Municipality's commitment towards a low carbon Durban of the future.

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