Introduction

Abundant hours of sunshine are one of the benefits of Tunisia’s geographical location.  Solar energy is therefore an obvious choice for meeting the country’s fundamental energy needs.

Solar water heating (SWH) is one of the most popular ways of harnessing solar energy.

Evolution of the Solar Water Heating Market in Tunisia

Solar Water Heating (chauffe-eau solaire – CES) is today, a technically and commercially mature technology, and one that is well adapted to the needs of Tunisian consumers.  Indeed, many Tunisian households have been using SWH to provide domestic hot water for more than thirty years.

The Tunisian experience of installing SWH began in the 1980s, through the Société Public Serept Energie Nouvelle (SEN) with the domestic production of SWH systems.

Marketing of SWH was supported by a loan mechanism for consumers, with a seven-year payback period;  payments were collected by STEG (the Société Tunisienne de l'Électricité et du Gaz – the Tunisian Company of  Electricity and Gas ) through a surcharge on consumers’ electricity bills.

Due to technological problems, the market experienced a marked decrease from around 5,000 m² per year of systems installed in the late 1980s, to a few hundred m² in the mid-1990s.

In 1995, thanks to  Global Environment Facility(GEF) financing, the Tunisian Government launched an ambitious programme to revitalize the market, aiming at the installation of 50,000 m² of capacity by 2003.  The programme was based on a simple subsidy of up to 35% of the purchase price, supported by quality monitoring procedures aimed at restoring consumer confidence.

This programme helped revive the market, raising the profile of SWH technology and creating a network of local installers.  Annual installations increased from a few hundred m² in 1995 to around 17,000 m² in 2001.

The project ended at the end of 2001 with the exhaustion of the allocated funds (US$6.6 million). This led to a new decline in the Tunisian SWH market, with annual installations decreasing from 17,000 m² in 2001 to around 750 m² in 2004.

It is clear that an adequate and sustainable funding mechanism is necessary for the development of this sector in Tunisia.

In 2005, the Tunisian State launched the ambitious PROSOL programme as part of its national energy management programme.

Aims of the PROSOL programme

The PROSOL programme aims to achieve a total installed area of 1.3 million m² by 2020 and 2.85 million m² by 2030, broken down as follows:

 

Installed area ‘000 m2

End 2015

2016 – 2020

2021 – 2025

2026 – 2030

TOTAL

Residential Sector

703

530

600

700

2533

Service Sector

18

26

56

100

200

Industrial Sector

14

55

81

150

TOTAL

721

570

711

881

2883

 

The annual growth of solar collector installations is shown in the graph below. It should be noted that just 60,000m² of solar collectors were installed in 2018, i.e. 60% of the objectives set for that year:

Review of the Achievements of PROSOL

Since its start in 2005, the achievements of the PROSOL programme in Tunisia have gradually increased.

Between 2005 and 2019, the PROSOL programme achieved 85% of the annual objectives set for this period, i.e. 900,000 m² of installation.

This change of scale is due to improvements in the PROSOL procedures aimed at removing constraints – including the departure of former suppliers and the introduction of new lines of credit – in order to promote lower prices and reduce consumers’ initial outlay.  The improvements are also aimed at reducing the red tape involved in the purchase and installation of SWH systems.

To this end, two agreements were signed, the first being between STEG and the Attijari Bank.  This agreement stipulates that the bank will undertake to grant loans to purchasers of SWH installations within funding limits of:

  • approximately 117 million DT for the period 2007-2011,
  • 126 million DT for the period 2012-2016,
  • 179 million DT during the period 2017-2021.

The agreement also stipulates that STEG will guarantee repayments according to a fixed schedule and independently of deductions made to consumers’ electricity bills.

The second agreement between ANME and STEG defines the programme’s management procedures and the responsibilities of each party to the agreement.

 

  • The housing stock has grown from about 2.9 million houses in 2009 to about 3.3 million in 2015, an increase of 80,000 houses per year. This park is expected to grow faster in the next years because of the various real estate projects planned over the medium term.
  • 30%
    The scarcity of national natural resources along with the increase of energy demand leads Tunisia to initiate an energy transition process focusing on the increase of the share of renewable energies in the production of electricity in order to reach 12% by 2020 and 30% by 2030, in comparison to the current 3%. Indeed, the objective is to reach a renewable electric power of 3815 MW by 2030.
  • 41%
    International negotiations on climate change resulted in a historic agreement in December 2015 in Paris called the "Paris Agreement"
  • 30%
    Penetration rate of renewable energies in electricity production in 2030