Why Social Acceptance in South African Solar Water Heater Projects Should Shape National Energy Policy: The Case of Bluegumbosch
AbstractThis paper investigates the key determinants of the social acceptance of the Solar Water Heater project in Bluegumbosh, a South African rural community that is situated in a former homeland. Data was collected through a questionnaire survey and interviews that were conducted with officials from the Department of Energy, ESKOM and the local municipality, as well as the beneficiaries of the project. Data from the questionnaire survey was analyzed statistically, using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The results indicate that while the level of social acceptance for the project is high, its potential to increase is threatened by a number of barriers which include environmental problems, poor workmanship, low level of the project’s capacity to generate employment, poor complaints handling, as well as poor participation by the local community. The paper concludes that ideally, these barriers should be replaced with social acceptance satisfiers in order to reduce poverty and enhance the livelihoods of Solar Water Heater project beneficiaries.
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