A couple of years ago, Bulgaria began to support solar thermal systems by providing a combination of grants and loans for their installation. The so-called Residential Energy Efficiency Credit Line (REECL) programme has been quite successful. It has already supported 1,024 solar thermal systems since it was launched in May 2005. However, the programme for commercial applications - the Bulgarian Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Credit Line (BEERECL) – has not enjoyed that same popularity when it comes to the solar thermal sector. Only 4 solar thermal installations are among the 126 projects that have already been financed since the start of BEERECL in 2004. Wind turbines and biomass plants secured the biggest piece of the pie. The solar thermal sector will now get another chance to take advantage of the programme's advantages since the programme was extended a second time. BEERECL will receive an additional €50 million between 2009 and 2011 to reduce Bulgaria’s energy intensity (total energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product), which is reportedly two times higher than the average energy intensity for an EU country.
BEERECL provides loans to several participating banks for on-lending to companies, so that they are able to finance energy efficiency measures and small renewable energy projects. 20 % of the financial aid will be provided in form of a grant. The programme does not only give financial assistance, but also helps with selecting projects and employing marketing strategies, as well as identifying specific energy efficiency measures and preparing technical studies to support applications.
BEERECL for the commercial sector was originally devised in 2004 by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), in close co-operation with the Bulgarian Government and the European Union.
This story was written by Tatjana Tupy, project manager of the German consulting firm eclareon, which is focused on renewable energies, energy savings & energy efficiency sectors. www.eclareon.com