Solar thermal is a mature and well established technology in many regions around the world. Taking into account its potential, often the market uptake lags behind. Th ere are diff erent reasons, diff erent barriers that hinder the development of the technology. Adequate policies and framework conditions can enhance market growth.
This publication tries to provide “Guidelines for policy and framework conditions” related to solar heating and cooling, in particular solar water heating. It aims at providing a quick overview of the main issues to be considered for setting the right framework for the promotion of the solar thermal technology. Therefore, it outlines key recommendations and guidelines for the implementation of a programme for the promotion of solar water heating.
It targets policy makers at different levels of governance, local and regional authorities, urban planners, energy agencies, experts, stakeholders, interested citizens and consumers.
These “Guidelines for Policy and Framework Conditions” were developed as part of the GSWH project, a joint initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) with co-fi nancing from the International Copper Association (ICA). The objective of the GSWH project is to develop, strengthen and accelerate the growth of the solar water heating (SWH) sector. GSWH consists of two components as follows:
- Component 1 – Global Knowledge Management (KM) and Networking: Effective initiation and co-ordination of the country specifi c support needs and improved access of national experts to state of the art information, technical backstopping, training and international experiences and lessons learnt.
- Component 2 – UNDP Country Programmes: Work in the country programmes revolves around addressing the most common barriers to solar water heating development: policy and regulations, fi nance, business skills, information, and technology.
ESTIF, as one of the project’s regional partner, is committed to the development of knowledge products and services. And for that, ESTIF has been entrusted with the task of elaborating three practical handbooks to include recommendations and best practices in the following areas which have been identifi ed as key for strengthening the solar water heating market:
- Policy and regulatory framework
- Awareness raising campaigns
- Standardization and quality
In order to provide guidance on setting framework conditions, the publication first provides a general overview of the technology and its main benefi ts. Then, it outlines a methodology to understand its potential, and describes the main barriers to its development. The publication also defi nes the importance of policies and framework conditions, and analyses the main tools to set those conditions, i.e. communication, non-fi nancial and fi nancial incentives.
The main recommendations stemming from the analysis carried out in this publication are the following:
- Solar thermal is a technology with multiple applications
- Public authorities need to understand of benefi ts and advantages of solar thermal
- Impact in the market depends on good comprehension of solar thermal potential
- With tailored solutions the various market barriers can be overcome
- Framework conditions can be improved by action of public or private actors
- Awareness raising is a stepstone for public and political support
- Flanking measures are essential but need to be implemented in a coordinated
- Financial incentives can be effective in the market and provide a quick return on pubic investment
First, it is important to improve the knowledge of the technology, both with the public and the administrative staff responsible for designing and implementing a solar water heating promotion programme.
Then, it is vital to understand the benefi ts this technology can bring, as those benefits are key for publicly promoting the need for a solar water heating promotion programme. The benefits must then be adapted to what can be concretely achievable in a particular geographic, social and economic region. It is, therefore, important for policy makers to understand and assess the potential of the technology in a specifi c country, region or location.
Then, it is crucial to analyse what are the barriers hampering the development and local deployment of the technology, to take full advantage of the identifi ed benefits.
Once groundwork is done, policy-makers trying to design and implement a solar water heating promotion programme will be faced with the issue of how to select and devise actions to set the framework conditions for the development of solar thermal.
It is essential here to consider three main pillars which should be the backbone of each solar water heating promotion programme: awareness raising, non-fi nancial measures, and fi nally, proper incentives for the deployment of the technology.