The initiative is part of the framework of Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN) project. The focus of SOLTRAIN is to contribute towards reducing energy poverty by improving access to sustainable energies, thus directly contributing to the realisation of some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Solar thermal energy harnesses sunlight to generate thermal energy, which produces heat instead of electricity. This is then transferred into your home or business heating system to produce hot water among other things,” Fenni Shidhika, researcher at NEI explained.
“The need to promote alternative energy sources and adoption of energy efficient technologies plays a critical role in the industry. It leads to the reduction of electricity bills, reduced air pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and enables greater electrical grid stability,” explained Nico Snyders, Deputy Director of Ministry of Mines and Energy.
Experts are of the opinion that the usage of solar thermal energy, for various industrial processes, will eventually emerge as the most conventional option to mitigating climate change.
Prof Pramanathan Govender, the NUST Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation said: “NUST is looking into embracing solar energy research and innovation as a niche area for addressing issues of energy access, energy inadequacy and the environmental concerns.”
The one-day workshop was facilitated by Dr Wener Weiss, Managing Director of AEE-Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE – INTEC,) together with the local implementers of the SOLTRAIN project. Henning Holms from, Holms and Friends, a South African solar energy consulting enterprise, also made his contribution by sharing his experiences in the sector.