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Democratizing Renewable Energies in Tunisia

February 26, 2021
Two People Installing Solar Panels in Tunisia
Image: ©GIZ Tunisia

Putting solar energy panels on the roofs of 65,000 middle-income households – this is the common vision of the Tunisian government and GIZ, who signed the implementation agreement for a joint project on 13 November  2020. The NAMA Support Project (NSP) “Clean Energy in Buildings is a large-scale effort to supply the Tunisian middle class with green electricity.

For the first time in the history of Tunisia, renewable energy will be both affordable and widely available. “Buyers will receive an interest rate subsidy and repay their loan through their bi-monthly electricity bill – it’s that easy”, explains Mr. Fathi Hanchi from the Tunisian National Agency for Energy Conservation (ANME). Hanchi and his team together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) designed a finance mechanism where the interest rate for middle-class users of residential photovoltaic (PV) systems is fixed at 3%. The loans are granted by local banks whilst the interest rate subsidy is financed by the NSP – a good deal for banks and buyers . With its emphasis on large-scale dissemination and simplified access to residential PV systems, the NSP marks an important step towards the democratization of renewable energies.

Saving CO2 emissions – and money

Over their expected 10-year lifespan, the solar energy panels will save approximately 915,557 tonnes of CO2; “that’s roughly the annual emissions of 300,000 Tunisians”, highlights Tanja Faller. She manages the NSPand prepared the signing ceremony for the implementation agreement. Not only will the project significantly reduce the country’s CO2 emissions, it will also save the government and the middle class a lot of money. Within the first five years of implementation, the NSP team expects total savings of TND 41 million (approx. EUR 12.5 million) for Tunisian households and around TND 78.1 million (approx. EUR 23.8 million) for the government. As solar panels are usually installed by small businesses, the project is expected to create more than 1,000 new green jobs.