The National Solar Water Heater Programme

The deployment of solar water heater (“SWH”) systems was identified in the South African National Energy Efficiency Strategy of 2005 as integral to improving energy utilisation in South Africa. Following the closure of the previous programme delivery model, the Department of Energy (DoE) has subsequently initiated a strategic revision of the programme rollout methodology.

In pursuit of the 2030 SWH target contained in the National Development Plan, the national SWH programme envisages the procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of up to 1.25 million SWHs by 2019 in residential dwellings throughout South Africa. These SWH systems are to be supplied, installed and maintained on a free-issue basis whilst provision is also made for accelerated deployment of partially-subsidised SWH systems as contemplated hereunder.

The nation SWH programme therefore comprises three (03) broad streams.

  • The first of these is the “Social Programme”. This entails the large scale installation of fully-subsidised SWH systems in residential dwellings which are located within residential area(s). Such areas are identified by a participating municipality and determined to be technically feasible by DoE.
  • The second stream is the “Insurance Programme”. This stream envisages Participating Insurers actively promoting the replacement of conventional geysers, on a reactive or proactive basis, with compliant SWH systems. In general this programme focuses on installation of SWHs in high electricity consumption areas.
  • The third stream is the “Voluntary Programme”. This stream envisages South Africans residing in high electricity consumption homes and who wish to have SWH systems installed in their homes and who may not reside in Designated Installation Areas, being able to request such installation by independently contacting a dedicated national SWH programme Call Centre. DoE will advise immediately the Call Centre is up and running.

Objectives of the NSWH Programme

The objectives of the NSWH Programme include, but are not limited to:

  • the promotion of energy efficiency inter alia through the use of sustainable alternative energy sources such as solar energy;
  • demand side management both by means of differed future demand for energy as well as reduced demand for grid supplied electricity, in both instances through the use of solar water heaters; and
  • the promotion of broader socio-economic benefits for South Africans including the promotion and development of local manufacturing and the associated implementation of local content requirements, the promotion of small and medium enterprises, job creation and access to hot water for residential dwellings.

Procurement process

Through a competitive bidding process, DoE is implementing separate procurement processes for the supply, installation and related services under the SWH programme. Bidders and potential bidders can participate in the Bid Submission Phases that are communicated through a Request for Bids (RFB) and associated schedules. Bid documents are available for free from the national SWH programme website.


No hard copies of the bid documents are available at DoE.

The programme implementation approach enables DoE to amend and/or review the RFB as and when the need arises. In this regard announcements are made through issuance of Briefing Notes that are accessible on this website. Interested parties (bidders and potential bidders) are encouraged to continuously monitor Notices and Alerts section of this website.