Earlier in September, SOLTRAIN workshops for policymakers on solar heat were held in Botswana and Mozambique. The workshops marked a departure from the policy workshops held in the other partner countries earlier in the year in that they were conducted online due to travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Botswana workshops were organised by the Clean Energy Research Centre at the University of Botswana and Solar Industry Association of Botswana, while Empresa Nacional de Parques de Ciência e Tecnologia E.P. (ENPCT, E.P.) convened the Mozambique workshop. These institutions are all SOLTRAIN country partners, with the SADC Centre of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) and AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC) providing technical assistance for the workshops.
As part of SOLTRAIN, Solar Thermal Roadmaps are developed for all partner countries, and the aim of the policy workshops is to find ways to accelerate their implementation. The specific aims of the workshops in Botswana and Mozambique were to:
In attendance at both workshops were senior officials in the ministries responsible for energy, the industry associations, utilities, development finance institutions, banks and other key industry players.
In both countries, national task forces were set up to develop frameworks for the implementation of the solar thermal roadmaps, with the work of the national task forces being coordinated by the partners.
For both Botswana and Mozambique, the government is seeking ways to address the challenges associated with high upfront costs of solar thermal systems as well as those of a technical nature such as quality installations and maintaining good performance of solar thermal systems.
The financial institutions in the respective countries are also willing to support the roll-out of the Solar Thermal Roadmaps, but require clear policy frameworks that will support their implementation in a sustainable manner.