SOLTRAIN

The Austrian Development Agency has again agreed to sponsor a second phase of the successful Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN).

The Austrian Development Agency has again agreed to sponsor a second phase of the successful Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN).

The new three-year initiative, SOLTRAIN 2, kicked off in Pretoria on 6 and 7 December 2012. The project partners from Austria, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe met to thrash out the implementation details of SOLTRAIN 2. The content will be based on proposals and feedback from all stakeholders in the partner countries resulting in the creation of national and regional Solar Thermal Technology Platforms (STTPs).

These are joint initiatives by policy makers, industry, R&D and teaching institutions as well as other key stakeholders. The Austrian project leader of SOLTRAIN, Mr Werner Weiss, is well equipped to lend his relevant experience gained from his position as vice-chair of the European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP). Through the STTPs, it is envisaged that Southern African regional cooperation will be enhanced and the market will be grown, leading to long term, sustainable job creation locally.

Feedback from the gathering also highlighted the importance of solar thermal and solar water heating awareness, not only with end-users, public and architects, but also with political decision makers and bank organisations. A dedicated and focused awareness campaign will therefore also be a core feature of SOLTRAIN 2. In addition, a solar water heating demonstration system will be installed in each participating country's centre of competence.

Trainees who successfully attended the course in previous years and candidates who have been brought up to speed through dissemination workshops or have submitted proof of competence with large pumped solar water heating systems will be able to attend specialised solar thermal workshops. These will be focussed on professionals designing large pumped systems that have an established track record. AEE INTEC will offer these courses and attendees of the Train-the-Trainer courses are obliged to also offer dissemination courses.


Finally, the collector test facility at the University of Stellenbosch at CRSES will be upgraded to European standards. This facility is currently focussed on research and development, and will be staffed by qualified University personnel. Industry, inventors, tinkerers and researchers are invited to develop new concepts or improve existing ones with the help of this unique facility.

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