At SOLTRAIN's training courses, which were held in the SOLTRAIN partner countries in early 2020, no one would have thought it possible that the COVID-19 global pandemic would lead to a complete lockdown and significant travel restrictions worldwide. Of course, this situation had a significant impact on our work relating to the SOLTRAIN project.
At the monthly online Steering Committee Meetings since March it became clear that we need to convert all training courses and policy workshops planned for 2020 to online formats.
In April we had assumed that we would be able to return to "normal operation" from October, but reality has taught us otherwise. While the situation in Europe has stabilized in July again to some extent, we had to realize that the first COVID-19 wave in southern Africa was just beginning.
That made it clear that we have to convert all training courses and policy workshops to online formats.
The online concept is based on the idea that the participants from the respective countries or region meet physically in a meeting room in compliance with the applicable COVID-19 regulations. The “external” speakers are connected via conferencing software.
This is to ensure that an intensive exchange continues in the countries and a discussion is possible. At the same time, speakers from other countries from southern Africa or from Austria (AEE INTEC) are able to be engaged remotely.
In this format, seven policy workshops for the implementation of the Solar Thermal Roadmaps, as well as four technical “Train the Trainer” courses and six private and public-sector information workshops will be held.
The Specialized Course will be held this year in November on the main topic: “Solar thermal systems for apartment buildings, hotels and hospitals”. We will publish the exact date in good time.
We are aware that this new format is an organizational challenge for everyone involved, nevertheless, we are convinced that we can continue to maintain the excellent SOLTRAIN team spirit and we can successfully continue phase 4 of the project by adapting to the new situation.
As some other articles in this newsletter on the demonstration systems, the dual training program and the support program for students show, numerous activities have continued in the past months despite all the COVID-19 restrictions.