Tunisia`s solar thermal market stabilised at 64,000 m2 in 2016, a figure only slightly lower than the 65,000 m2 in 2015 and in 2014, but significantly below the peak years of 2008 to 2010. The key market driver had again been Prosol, the national residential programme launched in 2005 and based on a financial scheme combining direct subsidies of Tunisian Dinar (TND) 200 and 300 granted by the Energy Transition Fund and low-interest loans. With 90 %, residential systems still account for the largest share in newly installed collector area. However, hotels and commercial buildings have profited from Prosol Tertiary since 2009 and contributed around 5 %.
Tunisia’s incentive and low-interest loan scheme Prosol can already celebrate its tenth anniversary next year. Since 2005, the Tunisian Company of Electricity and Gas, STEG, has been managing the programme, which enables end consumers to repay a loan for a solar water heater over five years by having the instalment amount charged to their monthly STEG electricity bill. The programme was praised as an ideal showcase for the entire region, because market volume grew by more than a factor of ten in only five years. Before the start of the grant programme in 2005, Tunisia had only had an annual installation figure of 7,000 m2. In 2008, the subsidised collector area was already at 80,000 m2. But last year, market volume dropped to 53,000 m2 because of several factors listed below.
Chart: National Agency for Energy Conversation
After three years of preparation, the first Tunisian Programme of Activities (PoAs) for solar water heating was registered successfully with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in April 2011. It is only the second African PoA focusing exclusively on solar water heaters after the “SASSA Low Pressure Solar Water Heater Programme” in South Africa, which started in March 2011. Photos: Biome Solar Industry
The “Collective Prosol Programme” in Tunisia is gaining momentum. The National Agency for Energy Conservation (ANME) started the subsidy programme for solar thermal installations in the tertiary sector back in 2008. The application rate was low at first, but 2010 became a good year for the commercial solar thermal market. At the end of that year, ANME counted a total installed and subsidised collector area of 4,000 m2, including four hotel installations with together 480 m2 and around 130 smaller installations under 30 m2. According to ANME, grants for another 1,770 m2 are still in the pipeline. And, a solar programme targeting 18 public swimming pools is also under development. The photo shows the solar installation on the Iberostar Phenicia hotel in Hammamet, at the northeast coast of Tunisia. Photo: Alcor