Solar Home Systems Not Financially Feasible- EEC & ESERA


Photo Credit: www.insidebiz.co.sz

By Ntokozo Nkambule

The Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) and the Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA) have come out to say that solar home systems and mini-grids which are forms of renewable energy are way more costly than the current form of electricity which is coal-powered (non-renewable energy).

EmaSwati are at sorts following the announcement earlier last week by ESERA that they have granted a 10.14% hike to EEC. Worth mentioning is that the EEC had applied for a 21.31% hike.

According to Investopedia, renewable energy refers to the energy that is collected from renewable resources that are naturally replenished on a human timescale. It includes sources such as sunlight, wind, the movement of water, and geothermal heat. Although most renewable energy sources are sustainable, some are not.

Non-renewable energy on the other hand is energy that comes from sources that will run out or will not be replenished in our lifetimes—or even in many, many lifetimes. Most non-renewable energy sources are fossil fuels: coal, petroleum, and natural gas.

Consumers in the country as a result have been asking themselves if the answer lies in renewable energy compared to non-renewable energy. EEC’s Managing Director, Ernest Mkhonta during the official launch of the Africa Minigrids Program held at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel late last year noted that powering households with solar power is not financially feasible at the moment.

“We have explored a number of ways to provide universal electricity access in the country, such as solar home systems. Our investigations revealed that it was going to be expensive to go that route. In terms of figures, the mini-grid system we piloted at Mvundla under the Ntondozi constituency cost E3.7 million, yet solar homes systems could have cost as much as E8 million. The mini-grid system is advantageous because it is a centralized system that supports around twenty-two (22) communities and has a strong opportunity for business as well” the EEC MD noted.

The country is currently piloting mini-grids which are also a form of renewable energy. ESERA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sikhumbuzo Tsabedze concurred with Mkhonta stating that as it stands mini-grids are at least two times mostly costly than the current household electricity being used by emaSwati.


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