Focus On - April 2011
I can have solar collectors too!
'I can have solar collectors too!’ has a clear mission: to introduce solar collector systems and renewable energy to ordinary people. The driving force was the continuous rise in the prices of fossil fuels, which stimulated interest in renewable energy sources.
The initiative was implemented by the North-west Croatia Regional Energy Agency (REGEA). The project ‘I can have solar collectors too!’ was the winner of the 2011 ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award in the category 'Awareness and information projects'!
Supporting clean energy investments: a grass roots approach!
The project aims to encourage households to install solar energy systems by creating a sustainable financing model at the regional level to support the necessary investments. 40% of the cost of the equipment and the installation of solar power systems - or up to a maximum of 12,000 kuna (€ 1,600) per household - was co-financed through the regional financing model.
Solar thermal collectors were selected according to proven efficiency and technological simplicity. Participating citizens could choose the manufacturer that they preferred and received a refund after the installation had been completed. The grants significantly reduced investment payback periods.
The project has been running from 2009 to 2011 in four counties, as well as several cities and municipalities, in Croatia. The main funding came from county and national Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund budgets.
Energy agency, local authorities and citizens working together
REGEA’s role was to actively promote and coordinate the project, organise the project tender, select tender candidates and inspect the quality of solar installations. An intensive media campaign was conducted and public interest was impressive. So were the concrete outcomes of the initiative!
- So far, 255 solar thermal systems have been installed with grant support. Households are expected to lower their energy consumption costs for hot water by up to 65%.
- Annual energy savings are estimated to be around 1 million kWh.
- At least 20% of the solar collector systems are manufactured in Croatia – a welcome boost to the local economy. All systems were installed by local companies with a sizeable impact on employment.
- Local banks and energy funds have identified the value of such projects and started to provide specialised credit lines.
Solar collecting families across Croatia
Moving forward, spreading the message!
This pilot project proved so successful and sustainable that other regions in Croatia have already introduced similar schemes. In 2011 at least 650 solar systems will be financed as the City of Zagreb will join the initiative.
After the first phase in 2009, a wider range of technologies has been available for financial support: photovoltaic systems, small wind turbines and geothermal heat pumps.
Representatives from REGEA have explained the key to this success: ‘The lesson for all countries where energy projects do not receive any financial support would be to try to initiate changes by working at the local level, because someone has to make that first step in the right direction.’
You can have solar collectors too! posters for various counties and municipalities across Croatia
North-west Croatia Regional Energy Agency
In June 2008 the first energy agency was established in Croatia to make a difference: North-west Croatia Regional Energy Agency (REGEA). Its main objective: to promote regional sustainable development in the fields of energy and environmental protection. The agency focuses on local actions through the direct cooperation with regional and municipal governments that have shown an interest in renewable energy. The national ‘Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund’ supports the agency financially.
- "I can have solar collectors too!" was one of the winners of the 2011 ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award
- Read the full case study, in English and in Croatian, including photos and additional communication material