Mar 1, 2020
Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Abstract There has been a global increase in greenhouse gases due to anthropogenic activities such as deforestation and urbanisation. In South Africa, the main source of greenhouse gases is the burning of coal for electricity generation. The South African government has implemented a solar water heater initiative into the Reconstruction and Development Programme, a programme established by the African National Congress government to construct low cost housing for previously disadvantaged citizens. These Reconstruction and Development Programme houses have been retrofitted with solar water heaters as part of an energy-saving initiative which reduces dependency on the grid and provides additional socio-economic benefits to improve the lives of its users. This study examined the socio-economic impacts associated with the use of solar water heaters in low-income households as well as their attitudes and perceptions towards using solar water heaters. The primary data was collected using questionnaires which yielded qualitative and quantitative data. The study area consisted of two low-income communities in South Africa. A holistic understanding of energy use and its impacts on households was gained. The study found that the solar water heaters had a variety of socio-economic impacts such as providing additional monetary savings that could be used towards livelihood strategies and benefits allowing households to spend more time on productive activities. In order to ascertain the community's perception and attitudes towards the technology, statistical analyses were performed. An overall positive perceived performance of the solar water heaters was found, however residences did experience an abundance of negatives.