The Energy and Water SETA (EWSETA) yesterday launched its energyDRIVE project with the Durban University of Technology at the Africa Energy Indaba Exhibition, unveiling to the public the first-ever mobile renewable technology unit in the form of a custom-built truck to be used throughout the country in road shows for rural communities, informing them about the benefits and uses of renewable energy technologies.

The mobile unit truck has been on display at the Africa Energy Indaba Exhibition at the Sandton Convention Centre and the unveiling was met with great approval and interest from the public and private sector.

“As EWSETA we are mandated to drive the green economy and in order to do that we need to ensure sustainability in all energy solutions,” said EWSETA Corporate Services Executive, Candice Moodley.

“It’s imperative that we educate rural communities on what this means. With our energyDRIVE truck, communities are able to see how renewable technology works, for example what a solar panel looks like, understanding how it can help them with energy access, and how they can use waste to generate energy to power up a stove so they can cook.”

It is the first of its kind in South Africa - a custom-designed truck with renewable energy equipment that was designed by the Durban University of Technology (DUT). The unit also features a solar roof structure, a wind turbine system, a bio-digester, a battery bank TV, display cupboards, interactive energy demo models and an energy efficiency unit.  The various renewable energy technologies will be demonstrated at the road shows, which will take place at rural schools and TVET colleges. The energyDRIVE project will also promote skilled training courses in energy related fields.

“Through this project we are also appealing to the youth about career possibilities in the renewable technology sector, like career possibilities they’ve never thought of before – for example becoming a solar Photovoltaic  installer  or Solar Power Plant  Technician, or a wind energy engineer. They have probably never heard of these careers, and this truck creates this awareness and exposure where they would not have had that opportunity before. Education will open their minds to future possibilities,” said Moodley.

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) has a long-term vision to build research and innovation capacity for development and building a sustainable institution of learning by providing courses supporting the installation and maintenance of solar water heaters, installation and maintenance of photovoltaic systems as well as building energy auditing and training (BEAT).

“A mobile unit allows us greater reach and accessibility to stakeholders who wouldn’t have luxury to travel to urban areas to be exposed to these technologies through events like career days and exhibitions, which youth in urban areas can get to,” concluded Moodley.

EWSETA is the main sponsor of the project with co-sponsors Nedbank, Caltex Chevron and Conlog.

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