Renewable energy program brings PV to South Africa
Renewable Energy for African Development (REFAD) has announced an agreement with the Department of Mineral and Energy Affairs of the government of South Africa to implement the first phase of a program to bring electricity from solar and other renewable resources to 4,000 households. This is expected to assist up to 20,000 people and to aid in building the needed educational and industrial capacity in South Africa.
President Mandela has indicated that housing, water and energy for rural communities are priorities for the new government, with economic development and energy directly linked. REFAD drafted a plan for rural electrification, with coordination by the U.S. Department of Energy. Mandela and DOE Secretary Hazel O`Leary recently agreed to co-fund the REFAD program.
“For the first time in history, we possess the tools and the experience to provide cost-effective energy for lighting, water pumping, refrigeration, communication and small industry directly to the rural community,” said Ambassador Leonard H.O. Spearman, REFAD senior advisor.
The multi-million dollar first phase in South Africa will include the establishment of a credit facility to allow consumers to purchase up to 4,000 photovoltaic home power systems.