C4_RENEW: The Municipality of Karlovac joins the PROSPECT mentoring programme
With over 10 years of experience in preparing and implementing EU projects, PROSPECT is glad to have Robert Vodopić from the the Municipality of Karlovac (Croatia) as a mentor for this 4th learning cycle. Karlovac has experience in implementing solar energy projects on public buildings through citizen financing, which it intends to share with the PROSPECT mentees – the Municipality of Loures (Portugal) and AEEPM - Agency for Energy Efficiency and Environmental Protection (Romania).
Step 1: getting started - The first PROSPECT meeting between the mentor and the mentees took place online on the 14th of February 2020. The participants were able to present themselves and get to know each other, and the mentor Robert from Karlovac presented his experience in citizen financing and crowdfunding. Indeed, the City of Karlovac is currently making a techno-economic analysis to implement crowdfunding for installing PV on a city library. The financing will be through citizens micro loans during 7-10 years, then the city will continue to make savings for the next 15 years.
Step 2: working together - On the 13th of March, the mentor and mentees of the RENEW group met again so the mentees could present the projects they would like to develop and for which the learning programme could help them.
The Agency for Energy Efficiency and Environmental Protection is based in Bucharest, Romania. They would like to use solar energy to increase the energy efficiency of public buildings of the Bucharest District 1. Both PV and solar thermal energy are considered. The project envisages the installation of a Hot Water Supply System on vacuum collectors, as well as the installation of a stand-alone solar photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of 5.0 kWh in 1000 private multifamily buildings. These measures will save electricity used for water heating, as well as the external illumination of the surrounding area of the buildings.
In turn, the second mentee, the Municipality of Loures, presented its project idea: a PV Plant for shadowing a parking plot in a Municipal Green Park.
Step 3: meeting up - The peer mentoring activity of the RENEW Group took place online on the 26th of May. This third meeting allowed participants to gain more detailed information on what factors are important for the successful implementation and realization of crowdfunding campaigns.
The mentor from Karlovac was joined by Hajdana Rukavina, Project Manager at ZEZ Energy Cooperative, to train the two mentees on Citizen Financing.
Hajdana shared her experience with the first solar roof PV plant installed in Croatia, on a public building of the municipality of Križevci. She explained that this first project was quick to raise money through crowdfunding, but that the subsequent projects were even faster: “For next projects, it took us a lot less time to replicate because we knew the process, and also we were already exposed as a cooperative so citizens trusted us. Once a project is ready, good marketing is a key! You need to communicate with the local community, national level, media, partners – transparency and visibility are crucial in getting the audience who will support you. Support can happen in two ways – either through citizens donating money, but also through helping spread the word about the project.”
Robert from Karlovac confirmed the importance of involving citizens: “Connecting with a local energy cooperative takes a lot of the burden from the city. Instead of the city individually choosing project locations, it makes more sense to partner up with an experienced cooperative which will compare possible locations and make comparative analysis of which location and which project size is the most feasible to invest in. It might take more time in the beginning, but such a systematic partnership guarantees the best project is chosen both for the city as the owner of the project, and for citizens as future co-investors.”
The 4th and last Step of the Programme includes an online session dedicated to the assessment and evaluation of the peer learning activities.
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