Solar energy lights up Kleinmond community

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) initiated and funded a pilot project for low-cost housing in Kleinmond in the Western Cape. Solek was appointed as renewable energy consulting, procurement and engineering specialists for the implementation of the solar water heaters (SWH) and solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity systems.

Winning a special award in the Residential category of the 2011 Eskom eta Awards this low-cost housing project entailed 411 low-cost houses, fitted with solar and PV systems. The project was initiated in an area with low radiation and maximum sun –hours during winter and required innovation to maximise the impact of the project, especially regarding efficiency and sustainability.

Low pressure (LP), gravity fed evacuated tube geysers were imported from China with local South African partners against strict quality assurance standards. To adhere to the building regulations, the system had to be approved by SABS and installed under strict SANS regulations. This ensured a safe and professional installation. A temperature control valve was installed to furthermore ensure safe water use for residents.

The community in Kleinmond was involved in and benefited from the project as local labour was used in the installation process, specifically for the solar PV systems and the construction.

In terms of energy, the installed components could reduce the demand for peak power from the national grid with an estimated 430kWh. This implies an annual savings of up to 450MWh.  The judges were impressed by the sound design principles used in the engineering.