UNDP and Hrvatski Telekom Installed Solar Sunflowers in Ten Primary Schools in Croatia

Apr 30, 2013

The HRK 400.000 project ended by launching a solar panel in a school in Zagreb / Photo by: Inia Herenčić

The donation project "Solar Sunflowers" has been presented at the Tin Ujević Primary School in Zagreb. The project has been initiated by the Hrvatski Telekom and its HRK 400,000 donation, in cooperation with the UNDP. The project has been presented by President of the Management Board and Head of the Hrvatski Telekom Ivica Mudrinić and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. The "Solar Sunflowers" project has also been supported by Mihael Zmajlović, the Minister of Nature and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Croatia.
As part of the "Solar Sunflowers" project, ten primary schools in Croatia have been equipped with a solar panel. The detached solar panels rotate towards the Sun during the day so that the modules are directed at the Sun at the optimal angle, which increases the efficiency of the system for 30 per cent, which means larger quantities of obtained electric energy.

Apart from that, the panels are intended to educate school children about renewable energy sources. They will learn about the energy coming from sunlight, wind, riwer flows, tides and waves, gheotermal energy and the biomass energy. The education will be held by the organizers of the project in cooperation with the Society for Sustainable Development Design (DOOR) and the Eko Kvarner association.

"By entering the European Union, we accept high standards of environmental protection and some ambitious aims such as the plan to increase the amount of energy coming from renewable sources to 20 per cent until 2020. We can only achieve that through cooperation of economy and energy sectors and by raising the general awareness of the society. Therefore I support all actions similar to "Solar Sunflowers" where children are introduced to diferent ways of getting energy from renewable sources in the earliest years of their lives, as well as the advantages of the renewable energy. I do not want the solar sunflowers to be only the energy source in these ten schools, but also the inspiration for other activities connected with the preservation of our environment," said Zmajlović.

"Croatia has a huge potential for increasing the use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources," said Vinton. "However, we have to inspire the public in order to seize the opportunity. A great way to do so is to offer the knowledge about the solar energy to the children through personal experience."

„We are fully aware of the importance of sustainability in all our activities, because we are convinced that a real progress can only be achieved when fully respecting the people and the planet. Our goal with this project is that school age children learn to distinguish among the occurrences in the present according to their consequences in the future. To turn towards the Sun and to contribute to clean air while at the same time enjoying the benefits brought by a fast technological advancement- that is the winning combination," said Mudrinić.

Today's presentation of the project at the Primary School Tin Ujević, hosted by the headmistress Jasmina Hamer, was preceded by the excellent acceptance of similar projects in nine other primary schools: "Lapad" in Dubrovnik, "Hvar" in Hvar, "Đure Deželića" in Ivanić-grad, "Ostrog" in Kaštel Lukšić, "Ljudevita Modeca" in Križevci, "Fran Krsto Frankopan" in Omišalj, "Veli Vrh" in Pula, "Siniše Glavaševića" in Vukovar and "Šimuna Kozičića Benje" in Zadar.

By using the new solar photovoltaic (PV) devices, these ten schools will have the electricity bills reduced for HRK 2.000 annualy for the next 25 years. At the same time the shool children will be able to follow the information about the amount of energy produced by the solar sunflowers in other schools. It will also be possible to check the level of reduction of the carbon dioxide emission, and, as a part of the project, more than 1.000 children will get knowledge about solar energy.

Furthermore, the schools will be able to get a permit to include the electric energy they produce into the network system and, on grounds of that, acquire profit from energy selling.

A new website, http://www.solarnisuncokreti.hr/, has been opened so that the information about the solar energy is available to the public and so that it is possible to follow the results of the project. The website has had almost 25.000 views in the last month. Working materials, picture book and worksheets for education of the children about the renewable energy sources are available on the website for free.