SOLTRAIN builds on successes and extends to a fourth phase


Submitted by Werner Weiss
Published 2 years, 12 months ago

SOLTRAIN is pleased to announce that the programme will be extended to a fourth phase. SOLTRAIN began its first phase in 2009, with partner institutions in Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and with the second and third phases seeing the extension of the programme into Lesotho and Botswana.


To date, the three phases of SOLTRAIN have resulted in about 3,000 people being trained in 100 training courses conducted in the six partner countries. In addition, 326 solar thermal systems, ranging from 2 to 600 m² in collector area per system, have been installed in these countries.

At the policy and planning level, Solar Thermal Roadmaps and Implementation Plans were developed through broad stakeholder consultation processes, in close cooperation with policy stakeholders such as ministries and government bodies.

In the upcoming fourth phase, the next logical step will be the implementation of the Solar Thermal Roadmaps and Implementation Plans in a medium-term process in close coordination with the renewable and solar energy policies of the partner countries. The planned project execution period will be from 1 July 2019 until 31 December 2022.

The fourth phase will focus on the following five key areas:

Supporting political stakeholders in the implementation of the Solar Thermal Roadmaps and Implementation Plans that were published after a broad stakeholder process in all partner countries.

Increasing technical skills and skills transfer by carrying out a number of training courses targeted at different competency levels and stakeholder groups in the value chain of solar thermal technology.

Raising of awareness on the potential of solar thermal technology by using targeted campaigns. Through such awareness raising, relevant stakeholders and the public will be made aware of the wide range of applications for solar thermal systems. Awareness raising also shows the benefits of solar thermal systems concerning energy supply, poverty alleviation, job creation and the protection of the environment.

Strengthening institutional structures, including expert advice, training and technical support to the local industry, politicians and policy makers. This will be done through supporting the solar thermal technology platforms that were established in the previous phases. Similar to the European technology platforms, these platforms include all key stakeholders and sectors that can play a role in the acceleration and adoption of solar thermal technology. These platforms will act as an interface between local companies and the relevant government institutions in order to expedite the technology.

Demonstrating that solar thermal technology works in practice. The fourth phase will set up about 100 additional solar thermal demonstration systems in order to apply the knowledge taught in the training programs to installers, students and politicians. Both small and large scale plants will be set up in social institutions and small and medium enterprises, and will contribute to water heating, cooling and the generation of process heat.

With the solar thermal demonstration systems at least 2,500 MWh electricity will be saved annually and 430 tons of CO2 emission will be avoided.

By improving access to sustainable energies, specifically solar thermal, the fourth phase of SOLTRAIN will continue to contribute to the realization of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, specifically, SDG 7 directly, and SDG 1, SDG12 and SDG 13 indirectly.

The implementing agency of SOLTRAIN is AEE - Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC). AEE INTEC is an Austrian research institute active in solar thermal energy research, training and demonstration. The institute has been active worldwide in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency for more than 30 years.

The local partners in the six SADC Member States are:

  • Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), University of Botswana
  • Bethel Business and Community Development Centre (BBCDC) in Lesotho
  • Namibian Energy Institute (NEI), University of Science and Technology in Namibia
  • National Company for Science and Technology Parks (ENPCT) in Mozambique
  • National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Zimbabwe
  • Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES), University of Stellenbosch and
  • South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) in South Africa


As in previous phases, the project will be funded by the Austrian Development Agency and the Opec Fund for International Development (OFID).

The SOLTRAIN III Community