SOLTRAIN: Results of the Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative

SOLTRAIN Side Event at the SAIREC 2015 and booklet on solar thermal demonstration systems

The Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN) is a regional initiative on capacity building and demonstration of solar thermal systems in the SADC region. The initiative started in 2009, and is funded by the Austrian Development Agency and co-funded by the Opec Fund for International Development. SOLTRAIN is now in its second phase of cooperation with universities and training centers in Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It aims to support the target countries in changing from a largely fossil-fuel based energy system to a sustainable energy supply structure based on renewable energy in general, and on solar thermal in particular.

Since 2009, about 1 600 people were trained in 60 training courses, and nearly 100 solar thermal systems have been installed. Solar thermal technology platforms were established and implementation roadmaps for solar thermal systems ranging from small to large-scale systems for hotels, hospitals and industrial applications were developed in stakeholder processes in Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique.

Current results of the initiative and an outlook to the third phase of the successful project were presented by the partner institutions at the SAIREC 2015. Find more information on the side event here

Focal areas of the SOLTRAIN initiative are to

  1. Raise awareness of the potentials of solar thermal technology
  2. Build competence in solar thermal technology and establish institutional structures in the partner countries
  3. Create solar thermal technology platforms
  4. Set up demonstration plans to apply the knowledge in practice

The recently published booklet ”SOLTRAIN – Solar Thermal Demonstration Systems in Southern Africa” highlights several examples of solar thermal demonstration systems in Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho and Zimbabwe that were installed during practical training with SOLTRAIN. These serve to present the different applications, types and sizes of systems and the achievable energy and CO2 emission savings, ranging from Joe’s Beerhouse Kitchen in Windhoek, Namibia, to the Churchill Boys High School in Harare, Zimbabwe.

AEE Intec, an Austrian Institute active in solar thermal energy research, training and demonstration, is the implementing agency of SOLTRAIN.

Local partners include the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa and the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, the Namibian Energy Institute, the Bethel Business and Community Development Centre Lesotho, the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique and the company Domestic Solar Heating in Zimbabwe.

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