“Solar water heaters, or solar geysers as they are commonly known are in great demand as they are more energy efficient than their electrical counterparts. While the industry has grown locally and various manufacturers are producing products that are certified by the South African Bureau of Standards, there is a lag when it comes to locally manufactured components, says Jodi Scholtz, Lead Administrator of the South African Bureau of Standards.
In accordance with the pronouncements by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) the local components of solar water geysers needs to be 70%. This means that 70% of the components need to be manufactured and sourced locally.
“The potential for job creation and further industry growth if the local content requirements are met are astounding when you look at the demand for solar geysers within South Africa and the continent.
The SABS acknowledges that a number of manufacturers have their products tested and certified as part of a product certification scheme, however it is the local content verification element that is missing. Currently there are no local solar water geysers that meet the local content requirements,” explains Scholtz.
The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) was appointed as the local content verification body in terms of the amended regulations to the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, Act 5 of 2000.
“By having components sourced and manufactured locally, industries and economies can flourish. The main components of a solar water geyser are the collector, the heat transfer system, and the storage vessel. There are local companies that manufacture components and we further encourage suppliers to have their components verified for local content as it will create a demand for manufacturers to meet the local content requirements.” says Scholtz.
Manufacturers of components for solar water geysers can have their parts locally verified as part of the SABS Local content grading scheme. A grade from A to J is assigned, based on the criteria being met, where A has 90-100% local content and J from 1-9%. This is a five year scheme and gives manufacturers the flexibility to incrementally increase the percentage of local content in products over the period.