What Contribution does the Installation of Solar Water Heaters Make Towards the Alleviation of Energy Poverty in South Africa?

"This paper explores the assumption that solar water heaters installed in low-income households increase the household’s capital and decreases the vulnerability of the households to poverty. The research supports the discussion around the social benefits of renewable energy, looking at solar water heaters in particular and debates it in the context of appropriate project implementation. Data and information are drawn from household surveys and qualitative research undertaken in two SWH projects implemented in South Africa. To install one million solar water heaters in households throughout South Africa by the year 2014, with the goals of reducing strain on existing electricity resources,mitigating greenhouse gas emissions,creating employment and alleviating poverty. This paper examines two existing solar water heater installation projects with the aim of investigating the social contribution of the installation of solar water heaters in low-income households in South Africa. The Sustainable Urban Livelihoods approach (SULA) was adjusted to provide an analytical framework for the development of suitable indicators of social change in the context of renewable energies and energy poverty."