From SHS to grid electricity in low-income rural households

  • JM Green University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • DI Zwebe University of Twente

Abstract

The Maphephetheni area is a unique area. First of all, it was the first rural area with Photovoltaic (PV) experience in KwaZulu-Natal. In 1996 a project was started by Solar Engineering Services to install Solar Home Systems (SHSs) in 50 households in this area. Secondly, Maphephetheni is now one of the few areas with both SHSs and grid accessibility. This survey investigated the experiences of households with access to both SHS and grid electricity. Specific objectives included comparing the usage of grid electricity and SHSs; to compare the daily lives of the households when using the SHS and using grid electricity; and to find out if a SHS is seen as an inferior energy source. All six households that qualified were interviewed, two households with grid electricity and a functioning SHS and 4 households with grid access but a non-functioning SHS. The survey was conducted through structured interviews of approximately one hour, with some space for unstructured discussion to express feelings about the usage of the different kinds of energy sources. There was a warm welcome in most of the families and they loved to talk about the subject. Results indicated that SHSs were not seen as inferior energy sources in the rural area of Maphephetheni. Half of the households preferred SHS to grid electricity, and all households were very content about the working of the SHS, while there were some complaints about the functioning of the grid. All those families who did not have a working SHS at the moment wanted it fixed. The households themselves did not have the feeling that much changed after they accessed the grid, but the equipment used with electricity increased, as did the number of lights in use. Refrigeration, cooking and bulk water heating changed slightly because most families already had a refrigerator before they accessed the grid (a move from gas to electricity), and cooking and water heating were still mostly done with paraffin. Kettles were now used for making tea.

References

ABB (Asea Brown Boveri Ltd). 2003. Access to Electricity: Bring the benefits of electricity to people who still have no access to electricity. URL: www.abb.com (Accessed May 2004).

Cawood, W. And Simelane, R. 2004. Solar Engineering Services. Solar Engineering Services homepage. URL: www.solarengineering.co.za (Accessed June 2004).

DME (Department of Minerals and Energy). 2003. White Paper on Renewable Energy. Pretoria: Department of Minerals and Energy.

EIA (Energy Information Administration). 2002. South Africa: Environmental Issues, Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government. URL www.eia.doe.gov/ cabs/safrenv.html (Accessed June 2004).

Eskom. 2004. Eskom homepage. URL: www.eskom.co.za (Accessed June 2004).

Green, J M, Wilson, M, & Cawood W. 1999. Maphephethe rural electrification (Photovoltaic) Programme: The constraints on the adoption of Solar Home Systems. Development Southern Africa, 18 (1): 19-30.

Green, J M & Erskine, S H. 1998. An Energy Audit of Maphephethe: assessing present energy usage patterns as a precursor to the introduction and expansion of alternate energy sources. University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg,

Green, J M & Wilson, M. 2000. The impact of domestic solar energy on development and quality of life in Maphephete, rural South Africa. Proceedings of the Domestic Use of Energy Conference, Cape Town, pp. 153-158.

Karotti, R. and Banks, D. 2000. PV power and profit Electrifying rural South Africa. Renewable Energy World, 3(1): 50-59.

Martens J W, De Lange T J, Cloin J, Szewczuk S, Morris R & Zak J. 2001. Accelerating the Market Penetration of Renewable Energy Technologies in South Africa. Energieonderzoek Centrum Nederland (ECN).

Ndokweni, M F & Green, J M. 2003. Maphephetheni household survey report. Community Resources, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

NER (National Electricity Regulator). 2001. Electricity supply statistics for South Africa 2001. URL: www.ner. org.za/stats/statistics_kwazulu.htm, (Accessed May 2004).

Prasad, G & Ranninger, H. 2003. The social impact of the basic electricity support tariff (BEST). Proceedings of the Domestic Use of Energy Conference, Cape Town. pp17-22.

RAPS (Rural Area Power Solutions). Undated. RAPS Utilities. URL: http://www.raps.co.za (Accessed August 2004).

Wiersma, S, Kempenaar, L, Singh, D & Witherden, M. 1999. Renewable energy development and training centre, Solar / LPGas hybrid system at Myeka high school, Durban Institute of Technology. URL: http://mzone.mweb.co.za/residents/inl0347/myeka31 0.htm (Accessed June 2004).
Views
  • Abstract 18
  • PDF 15
Views and downloads are with effect from 11 January 2018
Published
2017-10-16