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SASTE – Southern Africa Solar Thermal Energy

Enhance Solar Heating Projects with Revenue from Carbon Credits

The purpose of this programme is the promotion of small scale solar heating technologies such as Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) which reduce the use of coal based grid electricity or the direct use of fossil fuels and the associated Greenhouse Gas emissions. Solar Thermal Energy (STE) is a group of technologies which exploits solar energy to provide thermal energy. These technologies are typically arranged in to three categories:

  • Low temperature collectors such as solar heaters for swimming pools
  • Medium temperature collectors usually used to heat water or air for domestic and commercial us
  • High temperature collectors which concentrate sunlight and are typically used to generate electricity

The Programme is developed under the CDM as a Programme of Activities

The solar renewable technologies used in these programmes result in reduced carbon dioxide emissions thereby contributing to the fight against climate change. The programmes are developed under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions via the creation of tradable carbon credits. The solar renewable technologies reduce the use of conventional electricity in Southern Africa and its respective countries, which is mainly or partially produced by power plants running on fossil fuels emitting carbon dioxide, a potent Greenhouse Gas.

The nature of a CDM Programme of Activities allows many project developers to collaborate in order to advance the availability of a certain technology and encourage its use among consumers. The costs of accessing the carbon markets are then substantially reduced and the viability of small to micro scale mitigation activities is improved.

The Programme

The programme seeks to promote the commercialisation and use of technology that uses solar energy to provide heat where otherwise electricity would be used and initially will involve the following technologies:

  • Different types of Solar Water Heaters that produce warm water by pumping water through tubes/panels generally placed on the roof in the direct light of the sun and storing the warm water in a tank;
  • Solar Heat Pumps capture outside heat in a similar way to an air conditioner or a fridge and transfer this heat to a water storage tank to heat the water;
  • Concentrated solar thermal plants that focus the sun’s energy onto a small area to generate high temperatures, this energy may then be used to generate electricity or process steam.

The programme allows entities who wish to install solar thermal technology to access the international carbon markets in a cost effective manner.  Through this mechanism those entities are able to claim carbon credits for emissions that were avoided through the use of solar thermal technology.  These credits are in demand in the European Union and other developed nations, and the trading of these credits can be used to fund the purchase of solar thermal equipment.

What is the role of Coordination and Management Entity (CME)?

The CME is responsible for ensuring that all the requirements of the CDM are met and that emission reduction activities are appropriately monitored and verified. The SASTE CME is operated by EcoMetrix Africa and assists project developers to enroll in the programme, fulfil the CDM requirements, monitor emission reductions and commercialise their carbon credits.

The first project activities

The first project activities of this Solar Thermal Energy Programme will be undertaken by the Ellies Holdings Group (namely Ellies (Pty) Ltd and In-toto Solution (Pty) Ltd) (collectively “Ellies”), at a number of locations in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana where Ellies will sell such products in specifically designed stores and provide these technologies through local government initiatives.

Further project activities

Retailers, developers, small to medium businesses and technology providers are invited to contact EcoMetrix to discuss enrolling in the programme.  Please email the Coordination and Management Entity at for further information.