Theth, 20 July 2012 – To promote the technology of solar systems, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy, with the support of UNDP Climate Change Programme, Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP) and in collaboration with the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and Procredit Bank inaugurated today the installment of solar water heating and photovoltaic systems in the remote village of Thethi as a sustainable model for fighting poverty in low-income communities in the Northern Albania.
In 2012 GEF/SGP and UNDP Solar Water Heating project have provided 11 guesthouses with Solar Water Heaters that provide hot water for showers and other domestic use.
11 guesthouses and the local infirmary have been equipped with scalable photovoltaic systems that provide electricity supply for lighting purposes. The beneficiaries have co financed the cost of installation. These interventions aim to improve the lives of people in Thethi by invigorating the local economy through establishment of sustainable eco tourism.
A significant investment to turn the area in a mountainous tourism destination by promotion of guesthouse tourism is done by GIZ and GEF/SGP for several years. In 2011, 23 guesthouses were operational and 12,000 tourists visited Theth compared to 300 in 2006. The incomes generated reached up to 200,000 Euros 7-8 times higher than the social support schema.
Convincing real-life examples of the “green economy” have been promoted through this activity that demonstrate in quantifiable human terms that environmentally-friendly approaches can create growth, decent jobs and reduce inequality.
The national park of Theth shelters one of Albania’s largest woodlands, protecting a wide range of endangered species like the European lynx or brown bear. Surrounded by the breathtaking peaks of the Albanian Alps with its waters and creeks as clear as crystal, its air perfumed by an ample vegetation of medicinal herbs and accompanied by the exceptional hospitality of the mountaineers, the valley of Theth is the perfect destination for any nature loving tourist. Despite the natural beauty the area lacks electricity as the local power station is not functional and the village is not connected to the grid. Other than the local tourism, there are very few activities that are economically profitable, due to its remoteness, distance from markets and the restricted availability of suitable agricultural land.
ProCredit Bank, one of the pioneers of energy efficiency financial products in Albanian market and one of the financial institutions that cooperates closely with Solar Water Heating project has also supported the project financially.
Photo: One of the guesthouses in Theth village equiped with solar water heaters
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