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Initiative turns up heat

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Droogfontein Solar Power put their support behind the Solar Water Heating Enterprise Development (SWHED) programme in Kimberley in 2016 and continues to fund this programme that is providing skills, jobs and creating local enterprises. Photo: Supplied
Droogfontein Solar Power put their support behind the Solar Water Heating Enterprise Development (SWHED) programme in Kimberley in 2016 and continues to fund this programme that is providing skills, jobs and creating local enterprises. Photo: Supplied

Droogfontein Solar Power continues to fund its programme that is providing jobs and creating local enter­prises.

In 2016, Droogfontein put its support behind the Solar Water Heating Enterprise Development (SWHED) programme in Kimberley, and is still doing so.

“This project is changing lives, with a number of young people having already found either permanent employment or enrolled into full-time further studies after completing the initial SWH training,” said Hlengiwe Radebe, economic development director of Droogfontein.

“We aren’t just helping to provide hot water to low-income households, using a renewable energy resource, but also creating sustainable employment and enterprises for youth and women in the solar water heating industry,” Radebe said.

The Sol Plaatje project was piloted with 20 local young people to develop and test the implementation model of the Solar Water Heating Repair and Replace (SWHRR) programme, with the vision of rolling out a larger pilot programme to other municipalities.

The rolling out is planned for the Northern Cape and possibly Gauteng, before be­coming a national initiative.

A group of 12 of the original trainee candidates are still in the incubator programme, and as fully-qualified, skilled individuals, can participate either on their own or collectively in sustainable related commercial activities.

“The lessons learnt from this pilot project will be rolled out to the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality and Barkly West, and then move to other key areas,” Radebe said.

The Department of Energy’s Independent Power Producer’s (IPP) office performed a central and critical role in coordina­ting the various stakeholder groups. As the implementing agent of the SWHRR programme, the office also monitored and did quality assurance of the project.

The SWHED falls under the Department of Energy’s National Solar Water Heater Programme, which is designed as a socio-economic development programme to provide an environmentally benign energy source for residential water heating, restore confidence in the national solar water heater programme through the repair or replacement of the old solar water heaters, increase local manufacturing capacity, create jobs – especially for youth and women – and drive local small and medium enterprise development.

“The support from Droogfontein has facilitated the development and testing of a solar water heating enterprise model. This model can be scaled nationally to enable small and medium enterprise development and job creation for young men and women across South Africa,” the IPP com­mented.

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