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As many as 212 Solar collectors are producing hot water in rural villages of Georgia

Switch to sun provides rural Georgians with a much more comfortable life

09.06.2014 |WECF

212 Solar collectors were constructed in Georgia in the last 3 years as part of WECFs Sustainable Energy project ‘Switch to Sun – Live in Comfort’. During these 3 years, technology was improved and masters were trained.

In April 2014, 46 collectors in 9 villages in 5 regions of Georgia were monitored by an expert from partner Solar Partner Süd GmbH and WECF, supported by the project partners. At the time of the visit 42 of 46 visited collectors were working properly and 98% of the owners expressed how pleased they were with their collectors. The collectors that did not work at the time of visit had temporary problems that were partly solved during the visit. This is a great improvement compared to previous years and a big success for the project. The problems with collectors build in previous years were also solved.

The main findings of the monitoring visit were:
  • In most regions, a team of trained skilled trainers and masters was set up who successfully manage the production and support the trained households with the installation of their collectors.
  • Trained local masters and trainers became experts and have introduced innovative details to improve the technology.
  • The absorber and tank are best welded in a centralized place in the village or region. It can be done cost effective and of good quality.
  • It took two to three years to gain enough experience to routinely produce good quality collectors.
  • The willingness of the population to acquire a collector is linked to the quality of the demonstration collectors in their region. If collectors are of good quality, the interest is very high, and neighbors ‘infect’ each other with the ‘solar virus’.
  • The majority of the problems were caused by severe and unexpected frost, causing pipes to break. It is essential to train the beneficiaries well in maintenance to avoid these problems.
  • The most frequent technical flaw was that not all hot water pipes were completely insulated. To insulate properly requires a mentality change of the beneficiaries and thus training.

All in all, it can be concluded that the project succeeded to train masters who construct collectors of sufficient quality for upscaling. The costs of collectors is significantly reduced compared to the start of the project, now being around 350 - 400 Euro per piece.

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