Solar energy for a brighter future of Croatian rural areas

Jan 29, 2015

UNDP will in 2015 electrify around 20 rural households in distant parts of Croatia 

In the remote village Lisine in the Karlovac County, Nedjeljka and her daughter Anka live in very difficult conditions and without electricity. They raise sheep and goats for living and produce cheese. In the summer, the cheese goes bad in a day or two because they don't have a refrigerator, and during the winter when the snow falls above the knees, they are cut off from everything. The only electrical appliance that they have is a small light bulb that they use only for a few minutes a day, and which is powered from an old car battery.

Even though in the 21st century electricity is taken for granted, and it can be considered as one of the basic living conditions, accordingly to the Register for the sanitation of the electricity distribution network in 2009, there is around 500 households in Croatia without electricity. According to the data from the Register created by the United Nations Development Programme, and which is still being updated, there are more than 50 permanently inhabited households without electricity in Croatia.

These are most commonly remote villages a few kilometers away from the electricity distribution network, consisting of only one or two households. Bringing the classic electricity network in such cases is extremely expensive and financially unprofitable considering the small number of users, although the access to electricity would enable the further development of these areas and increase the number of people living there. 

Thanks to the UNDP's project for the electrification of households in rural areas of Croatia, an access to electricity will be provided for the priority households through the independent systems that use renewable energy sources without connecting to the network. 

Through the pilot projects in Ajderovac, Čavlovica and Homoljac, UNDP has already shown that the access to electricity for those households can be provided by the independent solar systems that are up to several times cheaper compared to the classic electricity network.

During 2015, electrification of around 20 households is anticipated, and the first results will be visible in the Karlovac County, where six priority households that are permanently inhabited and don't have access to electricity are identified. With the support of the Karlovac County, local action groups and the North-west Croatia Regional Energy Agency, the procurement of solar systems for generating electricity in an ecologically and economically sustainable way is planned. A similar model can be replicated in other counties as well.

Solar systems that will be used were selected and optimized based on techno-economic analysis and methodology developed by the UNDP for the purpose of this project, which in addition to economic and technical criteria takes into account the needs of beneficiaries and climate conditions of the selected location. Within the project, methodology for selecting priority households in an objective and transparent way was developed, considering the economic and social criteria.

Thanks to the advances in technology, access to electricity is now possible from renewable energy sources, independently from electricity distribution network, and often with much lower cost in comparison to the connection to a classic electricity network, and in an environmentally sustainable way.

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If you have any information on permanently inhabited households living without electricity, please contact us at mislav.kirac@undp.org.