25,000 solar collectors to cut emissions in Mexico

'25,000 solar roofs for Mexico' is the slogan of a project funded by the German Environment Ministry (BMU). The ministry has commissioned Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) to carry out the project. Its main phase has now been launched: GTZ and the in-country partner, the National Workers Housing Fund Institute Infonavit, have signed the key financing agreement. On that basis, investment subsidies can now be granted for solar-thermal collector systems, taking an approach modelled on the German Market Incentive Programme. Installed on the roofs of Mexican homes, the collectors will produce hot water. The 'Green Mortgage' credit system will put this technology within the reach of about 25,000 private households. Collectively, these households will then be able to reduce their CO2 emissions by some 11,000 tons each year. The first subsidies have already been granted.

Together with the Mexican foreign ministry and the German embassy, the partners presented their project officially on 10 June 2010 in Mexico City. Many construction and solar-system firms came to the event, and press attendance was strong.

This is a step on Mexico's path towards a climate-smart economy. Mexico is one of the countries most severely affected by climate change. On the other hand, thanks to its high levels of solar irradiance, it is ideally suited for solar energy applications. The German Environment Ministry is deploying resources from its International Climate Initiative (ICI) to help the Mexican government tap this potential, which will make a strong contribution to putting the country's climate change mitigation strategy into practice. The project also strengthens local production and service capacities and gives low-income groups access to a pioneering technology. The government gains more financial flexibility thanks to falling subsidies for gas. The innovative grant scheme with Infonavit can serve as a prototype for other developing and newly industrialising countries. An exchange among Mexican and Brazilian colleagues involved in ICI projects is already scheduled.

Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, has produced a report on the project (again with BMU funding)