Tunisia case study for the mass rollout of solar water heaters
(If Tunisia can get it right, so can we)
Two programmes used in this North African country. From 1995-2002 direct grant were given to users of up to 35% of the total capital costs of the installation. In 2004 a United National Environmental Programme (UNEP) implemented an innovative financing model to assist with SWH capital costs. The model is based on an interest subsidy to support capital costs providing low interest loans to households via a promotion programme called PROSOL (Programme Solaire). In this system, producers/suppliers offer SWHs directly to households but also offer the financing facility. Repayments are via the bill of the national energy utilities.
Loan periods are generally five years with loan amounts a function of the cost of the unit installed. The monthly loan service amount is aimed to be equal to the electricity cost saving, although this is not always the case. The prime linked lending rate for similar household products in Tunisia was 14% during the period of the project initiation. Through the PROSOL the local banks agreed to an interest rate of 7%, effectively halving the standard repayment amount. In addition, through the Mediterranean Renewable Energy Programme (MEDREP) Fund, UNEP was able to provide an additional 7% interest buy-down for loans issued during the first year and 3% for subsequent loans. The initial rate to customers was therefore 0% and after 12 months 4%.
The programme was promoted through TV and radio advertising, and through banks and government departments. SWH production is dominated by one manufacturer (Giordano France) and a few importers.
Simplified schematic of PROSOL SWH Model in Tunisia
<div> <i>Source: eThekwini Municipality Middle to High Income Solar Water Heating Pilot Program,<span style="font-size:12px;font-style:normal;font-family:Cambria;"><span style="font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:9px;"><i> </i></span></span></span></i> </div> <p> <span style="font-size:9px;"><i>July 2010 </i></span></div> </div>