SESSA announces new council members

The Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the creation and continued growth of an authoritative renewable energy hub, has announced its new council.

Responsible for guiding policy and formulating strategies to assist SESSA successfully meet its objectives, the council comprises 10 industry specialists and academics.

They are Henning Holm (Chairman), Dr John Ledger (Vice Chairman), Robin Thomson (Treasurer), Jason Schaffler (Secretary), Chris Elliott, Dylan Tudor-Jones, Prof Ernest van Dyk, Barbara Sabbione, Trevor van der Vyver and Uwe Klingenberg.

SESSA was founded in 1974 and is one of 50 National Sections of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). ISES is regarded as the premier body in solar energy with members in over 100 countries. SESSA is the duly appointed African office of ISES.

Its inter-disciplinary nature attracts the membership of industry, scientists, researchers, developers and the general public – the only qualification is a keen interest in renewable energy and its utilisation to ensure a sustainable energy future.

SESSA’s four active divisions include Solar Water Heating, Solar Cooking, Solar Photovoltaic and Young SESSA, which imparts knowledge about the significance of renewable energy to the youth and exposes them to alternatives to renewable energies and an energy efficiency mindset.

The Solar Water Heating division has about 500 members nation-wide, and strives to enhance and improve the growth of this sector of renewable energy in Southern Africa. It works closely with Eskom to execute its rebate programme and all SESSA members are officially accredited to sign up end-users for rebates. In addition to other requirements, their equipment also needs to be SABS approved.

Its Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN), sponsored by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), is building training capacities and improving the quality, performance and lifetime of solar thermal systems. At the same time, it hopes to create new jobs at small and medium enterprises. The final objective of the project is to install 50 systems at hospitals, orphanages, homes for elderly people and HIV/AIDS institutions to increase their standards of hygiene and significantly reduce the energy cost for water heating.

Following the International Solar Energy Society SolarWorld Congress at the Sandton Convention Centre in 2009, which SESSA hosted, it formed Young SESSA to introduce of renewable energy to children at schools in such a way that they are encouraged to progress their studies in the energy sector, especially renewable energy. This is done through an interactive road show which not only informs, but demonstrates in a fun and memorable manner how appliances like solar cookers, for example, work.

There is also the SUNWATER FOR LIFE project, which provides business, donors and interested players to support solar water installations for beneficiaries, ranging from schools to vulnerable and marginalised communities. These solar systems are branded and act as spring board for innovation and brand presence. Sunwater for Life is about using sustainable technologies to do good and also improve the quality of life for the beneficiaries.

Commenting on the election of the new council, Chairman Henning Holm said it looked forward to a busy and productive 12 months.

“Sustainable energy is high on the agenda of many businesses’ board meetings, Government department planning sessions, and family discussions,” he said. “And rightly so. Not only should we as a nation be making informed and responsible decisions about our energy consumption because it will secure a prosperous future for us all, we need to lead the way in light of COP17 taking place in KwaZulu-Natal later this year.

“All SESSA members endeavour to see the abundant solar resources being used to positively impact on the quality of life for forthcoming generations. Council members have a major role to play encouraging the adoption of sustainable energy solutions at all levels, and they have embraced this role with enthusiasm. I look forward to witnessing the impact their actions and commitment shall have on our country,” he said.

If you want to join SESSA or find about more about its work, contact members@sessa.org.za or ambassador@sessa.org.za.

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