In July 2013, the small country of Lesotho in southern Africa joined the SOLTRAIN project. Between then and the end of phase II of SOLTRAIN – the Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative – in February 2016, training courses were held, demonstration projects realised and awareness campaigns carried out. The Bethel Business and Community Development Centre (BBCDC), a commercial and technical school which is in a remote district of Lesotho and has 125 full-time students, has been the main partner organisation supporting these activities. Two solar water heaters at BBCDC, one thermosiphon and one pumped system, were installed during training courses (see photo). Obviously, this has raised awareness of the technology among all students learning and living at BBCDC, who use the solar-heated water every day. The efforts of the BBCDC won the school the Energy Globe Award Lesotho in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
A growing number of countries in Southern Africa follow the example of South Africa and Namibia to set targets and discuss regulations for an increased deployment of solar water heaters. The reasons are the acute power shortages and the fact that residential households spend 60 % of their electricity on hot water preparation when they use an electric geyser. Lesotho and Zimbabwe launched national strategies in September 2015 to ban electric geysers and Mozambique’s Minister of Science, Technology, Higher Education and Professional Training, Professor Jorge Olívio Nhambiu, confirmed the target of installing 0.1 m² collector area per capita by 2030, as had been defined in the Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap for Zimbabwe in November 2015. The photo shows the Solar Energy Mobile Training Unit showcased during an open day at the University of Zimbabwe.