The Solar Thermal Training & Demonstration Initiative

SOLTRAIN - Southern African Solar Thermal Training & Demonstration Initiative is a regional initiative on capacity building & demonstration of solar thermal systems in the SADC region. It is funded by the Austrian Development Agency & co-funded by the Opec Fund for International Development.

Austrian Development Agency

SOLTRAIN Phase III: Current

According to the World Bank today some 25 countries in Sub-Sahara Africa are facing a crisis evidenced by rolling electricity blackouts. These shortcomings in the power sector threaten Africa’s long term economic growth and competitiveness. The cost to the economy of load-shedding is equivalent to 2.1 % of GDP on average. 

Solar Water Heating Systems for domestic uses but also for heating and cooling of hospitals, hotels, student hostels and also for providing heat for industrial processes could play a major role in reducing the stress on the security of electricity supply in the six partner countries Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. 

Due to these reasons all partner countries of SOLTRAIN, phase III are pursuing policies that enhance security of supply, energy conservation and increases energy access. Furthermore in all partner countries there are national plans and policies on the support to increase the use of solar thermal systems in place. Also on SADC level the increased use of renewable energies is seen as an essential topic and solar water heating systems are detected as one of the major technologies for demand side management.

Phase III of the project is therefore based on the national and regional governmental renewable energy targets as well as on the results and lessons learnt in the two previous phases of SOLTRAIN, which were carried out from 2008 – 2016. 

It is the aim of all measures taken in the project to anchor the results achieved in the previous phases in the partner institutions and in governmental bodies of the partner countries and to initiate or to strengthen sustainable national solar thermal roll-out programs, that shall stay in place far beyond the duration of the project.

The specific project purpose of SOLTRAIN- phase III is to strengthen the partner institutions and the governmental bodies of the partner countries in the implementation of their sustainable national solar thermal roll-out programs.

The project focuses on three main groups:

Local implementation partners: Educational and research institutions like universities, vocational schools and other training centres

Target groups: Installers of solar thermal systems but also policy, administration and the financial sector. This target group consists of about 750 participants of the different training courses. It is the aim to have of a gender balanced participation in the training courses.

Beneficiaries: Social institutions and other eligible entities such as small and medium enterprises, house owners, patients of hospitals, occupants of homes for elderly people, students of student hostels, guests of the accommodation sector (hotels, lodges), visitors of restaurants, “industrial processes”. 

In the call for applications for demonstration systems a special focus is going to be on institutions which support women (e.g. girls schools, maternity clinics, shelters for battered women) and marginalized groups.

It is estimated that about 7,000 persons will directly benefit from these demonstration systems by reducing their energy bills and by improving the hygienic standard.

Targeted indicators of the expected outputs

  • 12 Policy Workshops with 250 participants carried out
  • 500 persons trained in 22 training courses on design, installation and maintenance of solar thermal systems
  • 3 national Solar Thermal Roadmaps developed in stakeholder processes for Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe
  • 6 national Solar Thermal Roadmaps implemented in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
  • 6 Solar thermal statistics (one per partner country) on the development of the solar thermal markets available
  • 70 Solar thermal demonstration systems installed, in operation and quality checked