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Govt commitment to renewable energy questioned

Ten years' ago, it pledged one million homes would be fitted with solar water heaters.

Solar panels. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – Government's commitment to renewable energy sources has been called into question.

Ten years' ago, it pledged one million homes would be fitted with solar water heaters.

But Treasury has cut the budget for this project due to the slow pace of installations.

It has also emerged in Parliament, that the solar heater project is run by a single individual.

The Department of Energy is under constant pressure from environmental activists to commit to renewable energy sources, including solar water heating.

But the department says it's not the manufacture of geysers that's the problem, it's their installation.

Deputy Director-General Tseliso Maqubela says that municipalities are reluctant to install them.

“Municipalities derive revenue from electricity sales. If you move people to solar water heaters en masse, then you are depriving some of those municipalities of electricity sales.”

He has conceded that the Energy Department could have handled the matter much better, when it encountered problems.