Winner of the ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award 2011
This project aims at encouraging households to install solar energy systems and at creating a sustainable financing model at regional level to support the investments with 40% grants. The project has been running from 2009 to 2011 in four counties and several cities and municipalities in Croatia. The main funding came from county and national Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund budgets. Solar thermal collectors were selected according to proven efficiency and technological simplicity. Participating citizens could choose the manufacturer that they preferred and received a refund after the installation had been completed. The grants significantly reduced investment payback periods. REGEA was in charge of managing the scheme and inspecting the installed solar systems.
Poster of the "I can have solar collectors too!" initiative, and happy participants Zdenko Ladika and Ivica Gojak
After the first phase in 2009, a wider range of RES technologies was available for financial support in 2010: photovoltaic systems, small wind turbines and geothermal heat pumps. So far, 255 solar thermal systems have been installed with grant support. Households are expected to lower their energy consumption costs for hot water by up to 65%. Annual energy savings are estimated to be around 1 million kWh. Moreover, at least 20% of the solar systems are manufactured in Croatia – a welcome boost to the local economy. All systems were installed by local companies with a sizeable impact on employment.
Proud project participants: Brankovic family and Lesic family
This pilot project proved so successful and sustainable that other regions in Croatia have already introduced similar schemes. Grants proved key to creating interest from the general public. A strong media campaign was necessary to raise awareness of energy efficiency. With pressures on municipal budgets across Europe, it is crucial to involve partners from financial institutions such as banks and revolving funds.