Potential of Photovoltaics for Water Heating in South Africa
Electric water heating (EWH) is the most common technology used to heat water in residential and commercial buildings in the country of South Africa. Water heating typically accounts for roughly 40% of the energy consumption of a typical South African home. The high capital costs of solar thermal water heating (SWH) systems in South Africa have made implementation of this technology very expensive. Recent reductions in the costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have made them economically competitive with conventional electrical systems. The relatively steady annual electrical generation output of the PV systems when compared with the seasonal performance of the conventional SWH has created opportunities for solar PV to capture a larger share of the local water heating market. This article reviews and assesses the three primary water heating technologies currently used in South Africa and provides an energy and financial analysis of each technology.
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