South African Solar thermal technology platform launched

Submitted by: Margaret McKenzie, Monday, May 20, 2013

<p>Delegates at the launch of the South African Solar Thermal Technology Platform (SA-STTP) (Image Source: Soltrain)</p>

Delegates at the launch of the South African Solar Thermal Technology Platform (SA-STTP) (Image Source: Soltrain)

The South African Solar Thermal Technology Platform (SA-STTP) was launched on 17th May 2013 in Pretoria. The main purpose of SA-STTP is to develop a national solar thermal roadmap and implementation plan to promote the growth of solar thermal technology in South Africa.

The launch event was attended by over eighty industry, academic, government and other stakeholders in the solar thermal sector. The SA-STTP is part of the three year SOLTRAIN2 initiative sponsored by the Austrian Development Agency.  SOLTRAIN2 is being implemented by AEE_INTEC of Austria in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA) and the Centre for Renewable Energy Studies at the Stellenbosch University (CRSES).

“58% of the energy that we are using [in South Africa] is in the form of heat. This provides a huge opportunity for solar thermal,” says SOLTRAIN coordinator Dieter Holm. “Through SOLTRAIN2 advanced solar technologies and experience are being transferred from Austrian world leaders to Southern Africa. This will foster the transition from fossils to sustainable energies. The future solar thermal contribution may be as much as 50% of all heating demand below 250°C by 2030 or one square metre of solar water heater per person.”

During the launch event a number of organisations presented their views of a potential vision of the SA-STTP and the role that various sectors would need to play in achieving the vision.  Participants debated and discussed a potential vision and structure for SA-STTP and elected a steering committee to make a decision on the final vision for SA-STTP. 

In addition to establishing the SA-STTP other work packages of SOLTRAIN2 include awareness and information campaigns, advanced training courses, solar thermal flagship districts, showcasing various solar heating and cooling installations, assistance to local manufacturers, sponsored demonstration units at Centres of Competence, and a solar water heating test centre at the Stellenbosch University.

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Margaret McKenzie