The Country Program of Albania under the Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative

What is the project about?

Guesthouse in Theth village (north of Albania) equipped with solar water heaters.Guesthouse in Theth village (north of Albania) equipped with solar water heaters. (Credit: UNDP Albania)

The initial idea of the project came from the National Energy Strategy and the previous climate change studies such as the Albania’s First National Communication and Technology Needs Assessment, which do promote and recommend Solar Water Heating (SWH) as one of the promising technologies to reduce electricity and fuel wood consumption with a significant contribution towards greenhouse gas emission reduction.

According to the mentioned studies, over 70% of domestic hot water needs of the household and service sector in Albania is supplied by electric boilers, while the energy demand for hot water in Albania is projected to grow from 600 GWh in 2000 to 875 GWh in 2015, in the residential sector alone.

Upon Government of Albania’s request to increase the share of solar thermal energy in the country, UNDP and GEF support solar water heating technology through legal and market based instruments. UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Industry and the Ministry of Environment is working to reach the target of 75,000 m2 of new installed collector area over the duration of the project, as well as an annual sale of 20,000 m2 with expected continuing growth to reach the set target of 520,000 m2 of total installed SWH capacity by 2020. This is estimated to correspond to over 300 MW of avoided, new fossil fuel power capacity by using solar instead of electricity for water heating, and estimated cumulative GHG reduction potential of over 800,000 tons of CO2 by the end 2020.  

The sustainable growth of the market will be secured by an i) enabling policy framework, ii) increased awareness and advocacy iii) available financing mechanism iv) supply of reliable technology and services and v) replication.

What have we accomplished so far?

•    At end of 2013, installation of nearly 79,000 m2 of new SWH capacity has been installed, which accounts for more than 100% of the expected final impact (direct post-project and indirect) within project timeframe; a great number of public buildings have benefited from installed SWH systems: i) Day-care center No.30; ii) Day-Care Centre No.50; iii) High school “Eqerem Cabej” iv) High school “Ahmet Gashi”, in Tirana; v) Day-Care centre “Beselidhja” vi) Dormitory of the High School “Kolin Gjoka”, in Lezha; and vii) National Shelter for Survivors of Domestic Violence” in Kamza; viii) the National Agency for Natural Resources; ix) Guesthouses in the mountainous remote area of Thethi; x) Vocational Training Centers all over Albania; xi)  The Orphans House in Tirana; xii) The Elderly House in Tirana, xiii) The health centers of Petrela and Preza; xiv) Two kindergartens in Gramshi; xv) Sport Centre in Orikumi; xvi) Nursery and Kindergarten No.3 in Saranda; xvii) Preschool Orphans house in Shkodra and xviii) Two kindergartens in Elbasan.

•    Other efforts have been focused on supporting Ministry of Energy and Industry to progress with revision of RES Law/ National Action Plan and endorse secondary legislation to implement the Solar Chapter;

 •    The Project has achieved the target of an annual sale of 20,000 m2 since end of 2011.

 •    The stated longer term goal of 520,000 m2 of installed capacity by 2020 will be easily reached if market trend continues in same way over upcoming years.

 •    Work is in progress with regards to the adoption of a national system for adequate product standards, labeling and quality control schemes: secondary regulations still at draft form; domestic producers continued to perform pre-testing of their products by testing facility of the Harry Fultz Institute in Tirana; capacity building continued to engineers, instructors, interested students, installers and manufacturers on the solar collectors’ testing centers and their operation; a temporary certification scheme for quality management designed is not yet endorsed; one domestic producer more close to product testing/certification by one Testing Institute outside Albania.

•    With regards to  the enhanced capacity of the supply chain to offer their products and services, more than 560 participants are trained over the last four years focused on quality of products and their installations including monitoring and maintenance; Project provided TA to commercial energy end-users to improve installations of SWH systems upon previous inspection; A series of capacity building activities and awareness raising are held on technology of SWH through rounds of training workshops with Tirana Polytechnic University, private universities, events with several municipalities/communes alongside the south coast of Albania; Different promotion materials such as leaflets, fast facts, posters, wall calendar are prepared and distributed: A short documentary film on the best experience of pilot solar thermal systems installed in public/private sectors is transmitted through the public television in Albania; Efforts have continued to find synergies with other donors contributing to the promotion of solar water heating in Albania; Regular articles are written and published to several newspapers and magazines; besides web paged based, it is enabled the development of the applications for “Smart Phones” of the innovative SWH Tool for Residential and Service sectors (, (

•    Efforts have been focused on supporting the Tirana Municipality to endorse the proposed Solar Thermal Obligation (STO), and play an important role among Albanian municipalities in making solar water heating as a standard solution for all new public buildings and those going through major renovations;

•    By targeting the social public institutions like kindergartens, medical clinics, elderly and orphans houses to co-finance the installations of solar thermal systems and demonstrate the benefits of this technology with energy savings and climate change mitigation, due to the fact that the majority of those public institutions’ staff are women (both, management and common ones), a lot is done to increase their awareness and consider their particular needs and suggestions: women appeared very interested in and had clear voices in support to solar energy. Good examples continue to come from social institutions approached with their female directors who strongly impacted the decision making in favor of investments of SWH systems in their institutions. The Project has also come up with the successful installation of SWH systems in the Multidisciplinary Center for Social Services in Tirana, addressing around 36 violated women/children for which there was a mutual interest with the UN Gender Equality Program in Albania. In terms of the trained participants, the female ones trained only during 2014 on the design, planning and monitoring of solar thermal systems (both professionals and students) was 72 out of 210.


Who finances it?



Amount contributed  


GEF/ UNDP/ Albanian Government 

$ 36.000


GEF/ UNDP/ Albanian Government

$ 244.975


GEF/ UNDP/ Albanian Government

$ 348.247


GEF/ UNDP/ Albanian Government

$ 310.437

2013 GEF/ UNDP/ Albanian Government $ 267.439
2014 GEF/ UNDP/ Albanian Government $ 764.173



Total delivery


$ 238.183


$ 233.777


$ 230.430


$ 294.231


$ 242.576


$ 14.154