In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Alexandra Township will be providing its own solution to the endless power crisis South Africa is destined to experience with the launch of its solar powered Far East Bank development.
"It's the first project of its kind," said Alexandra Renewal Project housing manager Sam Ramashala. "We have 520 one-bedroom 56m² units, which will be rented out at R350 a month where six families will share one bathroom."
Isaac Ramotla, the quantity surveyor on the project, said that the energy shortage in Alexandra was the biggest obstacle for municipal approval of the development.
"When the engineers requested power from the municipality, they found that there would not be enough supply for the amount of residents projected," Ramotla said.
"The move to solar power was the only way we could make it viable."
The development will use solar energy to heat water while conventional power will be used for the lighting. "There will also be an additional power outlet in each bedroom where other appliances can be plugged in."
Solar Heat Systems, which provides the Giordano solar panels for the project, has experienced a tripling in turnover over the past year as a result of the soaring demand for solar power.
Solar Heat's managing director Dylan Tudor-Jones says a family of four could save up to R5000 a year on electricity by installing a solar heating system. With Eskom's impending 16percent power tariff increase, consumers can expect to save even more.
"The system is more expensive than a conventional geyser, but in the long term you'll save thousands, said Tudor-Jones. "Preventative maintenance is only required every four to five years and the system has a life expectancy of around 20 years. I've even seen some 30 year-old systems."
The project is in the final stages of completion and the units will be handed over on November 9.