The Department of Science and Technology has revealed its plans to contribute to looking at alternative sources outside of Eskom’s electricity grid to help mitigate the challenges with loadshedding.

The announcement was made today during a media briefing as part of minister Naledi Pandor’s budget vote speech delivered in parliament this afternoon.

Pandor said that a team of innovators are currently working on making photovoltaic solar panels, often used in homes and solar farms, that would provide solar power to communities and public spaces.

Another team will also be deployed to help educate and guide communities in using and conserving electricity wisely.

The biggest news for us is that Pandor has promised significant investments in hydrogen fuel cell development. R80m has been earmarked for new hydrogen fuel cell prototypes for off-grid use.

“A total of R80 million has been allocated towards the development of hydrogen fuel cell generator prototypes that will be deployed in selected off-grid applications to provide primary and uninterrupted power,” Pandor said.

Last year, South Africa’s first community-scale hydrogen generator was installed in Naledi Trust.

Hydrogen fuel cell generators use, as the name suggest, stored hydrogen to produce environment friendly electricity and unlike solar power generators and wind turbines, they don’t rely on weather conditions to be able to function correctly.

“Areas where hydrogen fuel cells have been deployed include the University of Western Cape Nature Reserve, here in the Western Cape, Windsor East Clinic in Randburg and three schools in the Cofimvaba district in the Eastern Cape,” Pandor said.

[Source – South African Government News Agency, image – CC 2.0 Government ZA