The Mauritius government has announced plans to double the number of solar water heaters in the island by December 2009 from the present 10 per cent of households up to 92 per cent as in countries with similar climate.
Following the presentation Friday of the budget proposals for the year 2008/2009 , by Finance Minister Rama Sithanen, to achieve the target a new solar water heater loan scheme will be offered by the Development Ban k of Mauritius under which a grant of Rs 10,000 (US$ 375) for every solar water heater purchased will be offered until 31 December 2009.
“To further boost the use of solar water heaters, the 15 per cent import duty on solar water heaters and all duties on their spare parts will be removed,” he said. He explained that all future purchases of water heaters by the public sector wou ld be solar, except where this was not practical.
Sithanen added that pending the energy crisis, and having measured the potential adverse impact on prices of consumer goods, on the competitiveness of Mauritian businesses and on the country, the Summer Time would be adopted in Mauritius and the clock would be moved forward one hour from 1 November 2008 to 31 March 2009.
“The extra one hour of sunshine will generate substantial savings in terms of en ergy consumption and production. In fact, it is equivalent to replacing one hour of expensive and highly polluting fossil fuel source of energy every day, during the summer, with totally free renewable solar energy. The savings are expected to be around 15 Megawatts, equivalent to the output of a small power station,” the Minister emphasised.
He said the government would soon introduce an energy efficiency bill to set standards on the use of energy and on the tools and equipments through which energy is consumed – from setting standards on energy efficiency of electrical appliances, of buildings and of transportation vehicles.
The minister indicated that a token levy of 15 cents per litre on all petroleum products, 15 cents per kilo on LPG and 15 cents per kilo of coal would be introduced soon to be used to partially finance the various grants to be provided under the renewable energy scheme.