Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has accepted more than 3,5 Million Syrian refugees (as of June 2018, according to UNHCR). Due to the heavy use of the supply infrastructure in the refugee host communities and increasing competition in the labour market in the already structurally weak border provinces of Turkey, there is an increased potential for tensions.

Geographically, Turkey is situated in the ‘global sunbelt’ and therefore has the highest potential worldwide for the use of solar energy. Against the background of sinking prices of solar modules on the world market, solar investments are amortized in ever shorter periods of time. Due to these sinking prices, the number of solar installations has considerably increased in recent years in Turkey as well, even though the sector as such is still developing. The promotion of renewable energy is essential for Turkey – especially since most its electricity supply is being provided by fossil fuels under constantly increasing high costs (and imports).

In order to meet the growing energy demand, it is urgently necessary to train workers who can take on the task of implementing solar projects locally. In the refugee host communities, there is a high number of unemployed but educated workers who have the required technical knowledge.

Within the framework of the first component of the REMI project, ‘Further Training Seminars for Syrian Refugees and Turkish Citizens in Host Communities for the Training of Solar installers’, up to 300 participants will be trained to become solar installers for thermal and photovoltaic (PV) rooftop systems. To consolidate their acquired skills and knowledge; and to demonstrate benefits of solar technologies, piloting of at least three PV installations in Gaziantep – including some of the previously trained participants – is planned. With the private sector cooperation component, all relevant actors will be brought together. Solar Roadshows will inform about the project and about the benefits of solar energy in 10 municipalities around Gaziantep. With SME start-up and Energy Service Company (ESCO) seminars, participants will be encouraged to establish their own companies. So-called Solar Pioneers will conduct cost and benefit calculations for households and companies.

The project thus provides knowledge in the cutting-edge energy sector of the future: In the sun-rich Middle East, the future will be solar.

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