Alongside the government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) officially launched a solar water heater project in Albania, with its first workshop in Tirana on the 4th of December. The project titled “Country Program of Albania under the Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative” aims at installing 75,000 m² of new collector area in the country and supporting sustainable market growth targeting at annual sale figures of 20,000 m² by the end of the project in 2015.
The motivation for such a project stems from the fact that more than 70 % of Albanians use electricity to heat water in their household. It is not only an expensive way to heat water, but it will simultaneously lead to a strong increase in the demand for electricity in the future. The Albanian government now reacted by trying to accelerate the development of the solar water heater market in Albania.
The main goals of the US$ 3.3 million programme equal the “key pillars” of www.solarthermalworld.org:
• Enabling a legal and regulatory framework to support a sustainable SWH market (policy)
• Raising awareness of and extending opportunities for targeted end-users and construction professionals to urge them to consider and integrate SWH systems into different types of buildings (awareness raising)
• Increasing the demand for SWH systems by offering financial mechanisms that appeal to end-users (finance and incentives)
• Establishing certification and quality control with regard to Albanian conditions (certification)
The one-day workshop at the beginning of December mainly targeted high representatives of governmental institutions, international NGOs concerned with renewable energies, the banking sector, solar water heating experts, university professors and members of the Climate Change Programme. Not only had the objectives of the workshop to be communicated to the relevant stakeholders, but new potential stakeholders and capacities contributing to a successful project implementation had to be found as well.
The Climate Change Unit within the Albanian Ministry of Environment manages the UNDP/GEF project, in order to guarantee a successful project run. The aim of the solar water heater project is to install over 520,000 m² of collector area until 2020.
Text was written by communication specialist Hanna Schober based in South Africa. Schober@solrico.com