Projects / PROSOL Residential

In 2005, the Tunisian government, with the support of MEDREC and UNEP, launched PROSOL, an innovative financing scheme to develop the solar water heater (SWH) market. The PROSOL RESIDENTIAL initiative in Tunisia illustrates the fundamental importance of creating supportive framework conditions to enable sustainable growth of the SWH market in a developing country endowed with high solar resources potential.

The country first introduced a solar thermal strategy in 1984, but it showed a little success in the absence of joined up incentives, from 1996 onward, the government aimed to revitalize the SWH market with a USD 7.3 million project financed through multilateral cooperation [the Global Environment Facility and Belgian government], the available subsidy budget exhausted 2 years ahead of schedule, and the Tunisian SWH market dropped off dramatically until 2004. In 2005, the PROSOL framework was implemented by the initiative of ANME, with the support of the state-owned utility STEG and of the UNEP through the Italian-backed Mediterranean Renewable Energy Program.

The program was designed to adjust competitive playing field, by offering subsidies for Solar Water Heaters (SWH); to boost both the demand and the supply of the SWH market, by raising consumers’ awareness, training installers, creating accreditation and quality certification programs as well as developing an after-sales maintenance network and overcome the absence of consumer credit for renewable energy investments by involving the state utility (STEG) to act as debt collector, guarantor and enforcer.

MEDREC supported the development of PROSOL through the proposal of an innovative mechanism for PROSOL residential adapted to the Tunisian market, involving the STEG to ensure the repayment of loans by the beneficiaries, and the banking sector for credit allocation. In collaboration with the IMELS, they mobilized 1.56 Million Euros to support the program, the preparation of terms for the new specifications of the PROSOL, to monitor and promote the offer by organizing business to business seminars; to promote private-private partnership in the Tunisian-Italian solar thermal field.

The investment estimated in the overall Program during 2005-2010 is approximately USD 134 million. Over 90% of these resources were allocated to the first phase of the Program. USD 1 million, channelled via MEDREC, was used to fund 20% of the capital cost of all new SWH installations, and USD 1 million financed UNEP’s temporary interest rate subsidy facility. USD 200,000 sustained accompanying measures and Program support costs.

The second phase was funded with undrawn resources from PROSOL I and an additional USD 130,000 granted in 2008 by the Italian Government to the MEDREC to support the investment subsidy. On the whole, the Italian Government contributed with about 2% of the Program’s value, a small offer that has been critical to kick-start the Program.

The program achieved the maturity level and is still ongoing.

The objective is to reach a total installed area of 750,000 m² by 2014 and 1 million m² by 2016 according to the Tunisian Solar Plan.

By the end of 2012:

  • More than 50 eligible suppliers 
  • 9 local manufacturers
  • 250 models of eligible solar water heaters
  • 1150 eligible installers with approximately 400 installers qualified QUALISOL

The main features of the program were as follows:

  • A subsidy of the capital cost covering about 70% of the SWH system cost, which were repaid through the electricity bill 
  • A 20% capital cost subsidy, funded by the Italian government, for 200 and 300L systems up to TND 100 (USD 71.9) per m² of collector surface.The cost of the 2 year program (2005-2006 : donor-funded phase) amounted to USD 2.4 million funded by the Italian government, with USD 1 million used by UNEP for the interest rate subsidies and USD 1,4 million by ANME for the capital cost subsidies and public awareness campaigns.

The total area installed during the donor-funded phase is 57 000 m². 

Avoided emissions: 0.55 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent

Avoided LPG subsidies about USD 17 million (TND 19.7 million) in 2005-2006


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For further information on current PROSOL Residential program, please visit the link:

For more studies about PROSOL Residential,

The Mediterranean Renewable Energy Centre


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