EU renewable energy project in Croatia and Serbia supports public lighting modernization

LightingBusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 1/2020 • 23.03.2020

A renewable energy project, financed by the European Union, supported two Croatian towns and a city in Serbia in improving their energy efficiency. Under the R-Sol-E solar energy initiative the project partners managed to decrease the energy consumption of public buildings and infrastructure and to increase the cooperation between the two countries.

The R-SOL-E project involved 3 partners from Croatia and Serbia and was co-funded with over 858 630 EUR of ERDF and IPA II funds of the Interreg IPA CBC Programme Croatia-Serbia 2014-2020. The project started on 15 June 2018 and finished in 2019.

“The R-SOL-E project builds on potentials for renewable energy sources in the cross-border area and contributes to increasing energy efficiency of public buildings. The 20-month implementation focused on awareness-raising of using solar energy as an eco-friendly way of producing energy”, the project description said.

This was achieved by the construction of photovoltaic systems and the increased usage of solar energy. Potentials for renewable energy sources were considered a starting point of the project and they will continue to get utilized in order to reduce energy costs and reduce CO2 levels in the Croatian municipality and the two cities in Serbia and Croatia, partnering in the initiative. Among the activities implemented under the project were: the development of Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs), the installation of solar power plants, solar lightning and other equipment that promotes energy efficiency increase.

The City of Belisce (CRO) was the lead partner of the project and in charge of acquiring the solar tree and solar bicycle for production of electricity. Belisce also developed project designs and installed solar power plants on several sites in the city. The City of Novi Sad (SER) was in charge of investing in infrastructure that increases energy efficiency, such as construction of public lighting on several sites in Novi Sad. The Gorjani Municipality (CRO) was in charge of developing project designs for the solar power plant and installing a solar tree and solar power plant in Gorjani.

The R-SOL-E project installed 4 solar power plants in Belisce, 1 solar power plant and a solar tree in the Gorjani Municipality and a network of solar lamp posts in Novi Sad. The City of Novi Sad developed a cadastre of the city’s public lighting. The new lamp posts installed as part of the R-SOL-E project complemented the preexisting lighting infrastructure in the places.
“The R-SOL-E project’s aim is to promote use of renewable energy sources, reduce CO2 emissions and contribute to environment protection. Ultimately, the largest part of promotion was done in order to showcase our investments to its citizens. For example, City of Belisce installed 5 solar plants on 5 public buildings and Municipality Gorjani installed a solar plant on its cultural center. City of Novi Sad installed 100 solar street lamps that are now lighting up children playgrounds and bus stops in suburban areas. With these investments, we achieved 30 000 EUR savings in consumption of electrical energy which would not be possible without co-funding ensured within the project”, concluded Ljerka Vuckovic, R-SOL-E’s Project Manager and Deputy Mayor of City of Belisce.

In addition to the many infrastructural improvements, the partners of R-SOL-E also organized a number of activities to educate local communities on using renewable energy sources. Among them was a local competition in producing electricity. For its purpose an electric bike was installed in Belisce to demonstrate energy efficient and smart solutions in the field of renewable energy sources. Another point of interest were the solar trees used for Wi-Fi and mobile phones charging.