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Recent training on construction, use and maintenance of solar collectors in Odessa, Ukraine

Three regions were chosen for training, organized from October 4 to 7 at the State Ecological University in Odessa, together with our local partner Vidrodzhennia (Tatarbunary) and by technical support of the German expert Markus Brandhofer from the Solar Partner Sued GmbH

19.10.2011 |Olga Plekhanova

Solar collector ready for use

I just came back home from the solar collector training in Odessa while my only thoughts were on longing for a warm shower after such a long trip. Yes, we are lucky to have this luxury. Especially, if you compare it with the local conditions in the rural areas of Ukraine.

In Mannevichi district of the Volyn region people have no other alternative rather than to use wood, which is contaminated by radiation, an echo of the Tschernobyl power plant accident. In Pogrebyschi district of Vinnitsa region, people have their gas stove 24 hours a day on to have enough warm water and heat the house, and in Tatarbunary district of Odessa region people completely depend on coal, which is getting more and more expensive.

These three regions were chosen for our training, organized from October 4 to 7 at the State Ecological University in Odessa, together with our local partner Vidrodzhennia (Tatarbunary) and by technical support of the German expert Markus Brandhofer from the Solar Partner Sued GmbH.

The training program was very intensive, as participants not only built a solar collector themselves, but also discussed  a need of the renewable energy in Ukraine, possible financial mechanisms and business opportunities for the solar collectors, looked at different needs of men and women, as well as learned a lot about monitoring system. Local experts, such as  Professor Doroshenko and Docent Afanas’ev from the Academy of Refrigeration Odessa, presented their experience with the solar collectors and demonstrated two solar collector installations functioning in a big hotel, one of them already since 13 years.

All participants absolutely agreed with advantages of the solar energy and supported our project’s slogan: Turn to sun - live with comfort.
According to calculations made during the training, currently they spend 25-30% of their family budget to cover energy costs.  Another amazing result was to see that  women sometimes need 10 times much more water than men, as they cook and clean for the whole family. Lyudmila Kobushkina, a farmer from Tatarbunary made a nice summary: “A women is like an undine, everything what she does (at home), is related to water”.

Supported by the German expert Markus Brandhofer as well as local expert Sergey Vykhrystyuk (Vidrodzhennia) participants succeed to build a solar collector using only local materials available in Odessa. The costs of the solar collector turned to be comparable with the gas boilers usually used for water heating purposes, but with a very  important difference:  sun is for free, and gas not. One day after installation of the solar collector all participants could try it out and wash their hands with warm water. And this despite of the cloudy weather in Odessa that day.

This training was only the start for bigger action. Every participant is going to build two solar collectors till the winter to be able to monitor it during the coldest period of the year.  In total, plans are to build 300 solar collectors in Ukraine.

The project ‘Switch to sun-live with comfort’, is being implemented simultaneously in Ukraine and Georgia.  In Ukraine the project is implemented by the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine, environmental NGO Vidrodzhennia from Tatarbunary and Rivne Ecoclub, in partnership with the international network WECF, and with financial assistance from the European Commission.  The project started this year and will last 4 years.

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