ZEZ mentoring in PROSPECT Learning Cycle 2
The Mentor ‘ZEZ - Green Energy Cooperative (HR)’ and Mentees ‘Municipality of Sofia (BG)’, ‘Municipality of Hengelo (NL)’, ‘Municipality of Moschato (EL)’, ‘Municipality of Svilengrad (BG)’, ‘Municipality of Milos (EL)’, ‘Municipality of Bigastro (PT)’ and ‘Municipality of Aradippou (CY)’ participated in the 2nd Cycle of the PROSPECT Learning Programme, constituting the 1st Group for Public Buildings. The peer learning activities will be focalised on Citizens Finance and Crowdfunding. +Mentors' Corner
Financing solar roofs via citizen investments: Learning from the first crowd-investing initiative in Croatia
In September 2017, the "Green Energy Cooperative", also known as Zelena Energetska Zadruga or ZEZ, launched the first crowd-investing initiative on renewable energy projects in Croatia. With the support of stakeholders within and outside of the city of Krizevci, ZEZ collected financial investments from individual citizens to install solar power plants on public roofs.
In ten days, the first solar photovoltaic project, which is located on top of a Development Center and Technology Park, attracted 53 citizen investors who pooled together a total of 30,000 euros. As investors, the citizens who lent money are paid pack with 4.5% fixed interest. For the second solar photovoltaic project, located on top of the city library, it only took two days and 40 investors to invest 23, 165 euros. In return, citizen investors are paid back with 3% interest.
Although existing laws do not recognize alternative sources of financing in the public sector, the desire of citizens to be part of a new and innovative project facilitated the success of the crowd-investing campaign. Today, ZEZ draws the interest of public authorities and other stakeholders from other countries in Europe who are interested in financing solar roofs and other energy projects via crowdfunding campaigns.
The Mentees visited ZEZ in Zagreb to learn about best practices for Public Buildings
During the 3rd step of the Learning Programme, representatives from ZEZ met local public authorities from Bulgaria and Cyprus. Maria Manalova, a project manager from the Center of Energy Efficiency (EnEffect) in Sofia, Bulgaria, is responsible for developing sustainable energy plans, and is interested in learning about different ways of funding municipal energy projects. From Aradippou in Cyprus, Matheos Alambritis and Pantelis Sioukas are working in the local municipal government as chief executive secretary and as member of the municipal council, respectively.
On the 8th and 9th of July 2019, they all met together in Croatia. First, ZEZ facilitated two workshops: one on Design Thinking and System Innovation, while the other focused on business model canvas. With the use of different tools, the participants elaborated on their project ideas, identified stakeholders, among others to unlock the box of opportunities and solve problems for enhancing business and operation models. After the workshops, ZEZ introduced crowdfunding for energy projects with the example of the Krizevci solar roofs.
On the second day, the participants toured around the project sites and met the stakeholders: Mario Rajn, the mayor of the city of Krizevci; Tihomir Hodak, the Director of the Development Center and Technological Park; and Marjana Janes-Zulj, Director of the City Library.
“By building photovoltaic power plant on the roof of the town library, our library will become the first solar library in Croatia whereas the town of Krizevci is another step closer to achieving the goal of an energy independent town by 2030”, Marjana Janes-Zulj.
The 4th and last Step of the Programme took place on the 13th of November 2019, it included an online session dedicated to the assessment and evaluation of the peer learning activities.
Detailed action plans were submitted by the mentees, in light of the new acquired knowledge gained from the mentor. As part of an extensive transferability analysis the conditions for success and key parameters that could affect negatively the plans were also identified, along with a benchmark survey that encapsulated all the outcomes of the learning group.