The Solar Water Heater Subsidy Program
The solar water heater (SWH) subsidy program started in October 2010 when the Central Bank of Lebanon initiated the program to provide loans for small residential SWH projects which mostly consist of residential use. The program consisted of 0% interest on loans to install SWHs with a financial cap of 5000$. In parallel with this program, a list of qualified SWH companies was developed by the LCEC. These companies submitted their products for evaluation, and the LCEC classified them between qualified products and passing products. The qualified products benefitted from a 200$ rebate by the Ministry of Energy and Water additional to the 0% interest loan. The first phase of this project aimed at subsidizing 7,500 system and this number was almost reached by the end of 2018. This project was coupled with awareness raising campaigns, which helped push forward the SWH technology in Lebanon to almost reach 700,000 m2 of SWH installed by December 2019, up from 212,000 m2 in the end of 2010.
A SWH market study was released in July 2019 and studied the development of the SWH market in Lebanon between 2012 and 2017. This study dwelled into the average prices of SWH systems in Lebanon, the installed surface area, and the used capacities. It also dwells on the geographic distribution of theses systems and on the future steps to be taken in order to further push the development of the SWH sector in Lebanon.
In this field, LCEC was cooperating with international entities and assisting by providing the figures of the Lebanese market to these entities. Within these efforts, the Solar Heating & Cooling Programme by the International Energy Agency published a study on SWH markets in 66 countries including Lebanon. This study mentioned that Lebanon has a total thermal capacity of SWH equivalent to 583 MWth. In this study, Lebanon was in the 14th place in the total capacity of glazed water collectors per 1000 inhabitants.
Under the SWH program, LCEC participated in the Solar Heating Arab Mark and Certification Initiative (SHAMCI) program, an initiative launched by RCREEE. SHAMCI aimed at creating a certification for SWH manufacturers in the MENA region equivalent to the Solar Keymark. The Industrial Research Institute (IRI), Libnor, and LCEC are currently working on this scheme in Lebanon and cooperating in order to push forward with the certification issuing procedure in Lebanon.