November 1, 2018
REIC, a Sarajevo-based NGO, has invited citizens to donate money for buying and installing solar hot water panels at mental health asylum Drin in Fojnica, launching the first-ever renewables crowdfunding campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The goal of the crowdfunding campaign is to raise at least BAM 20,000, or USD 15,000, for solar panels that could help cut the costs of water heating at the institution by up to 60%, according to the invitation of donations. Drin, which has about 500 inmates and 250 staff, needs hot water 365/24/7, and it currently spends some BAM 250,000 (EUR 127,823) a year on electricity bills.
REIC (the Regional Education and Information Center for Sustainable Development in South-East Europe) said it wants to demonstrate that it is possible to finance citizen energy projects in BiH, and to pave the way for more such initiatives in the future.
While renewable energy cooperatives are a well-established concept in western EU countries, the Balkans is only just making baby steps in this direction. In Germany, for example, about 50% of installed renewable energy capacity is in the hands of citizens, energy cooperatives, and farmers.
Croatia’s first crowdfunded solar system was put into operation in September
In May 2018, Green Energy Cooperative, or ZEZ (Zelena energetska zadruga), launched Croatia’s first crowdinvesting initiative for renewable energy, in what helped finance and install a 30 kW photovoltaic (PV) system on the rooftop of the Development Center and Technology Park’s administrative building in the city of Križevci.
The PV system was put into operation in September, after ZEZ’s initiative had raised the necessary EUR 31,000 to finance equipment procurement and installation, with 53 citizens providing micro-loans to the cooperative. ZEZ will pay back the loans to the investors with 4.5% interest annually over a period of 10 years, from expected savings on electricity bills, according to earlier reports.
The pilot project in Croatia heralded the beginning of true energy transition in the region, according to an op-ed published by Balkan Green Energy News in August. The initiative attracted considerable attention in the country, and the crowdinvesting campaign received an additional boost through the local and national media.