UNDP together with Citizenergy platform, the European aggregator platform of all sustainable energy crowdfunding platforms and Energy Cities Europe, welcomed mayors from eight countries: Moldova, Serbia, Georgia, Tajikistan, Croatia, Somalia, Lebanon and Portugal, in order to launch an initiative for promotion of new financial models for solar power projects. Local communities, which are included in Climate Accelerator of the “Climate Smart Urban Development Challenge” project, presented their projects in Lisbon, on March 18 and 17. On the occasion, representatives of the cities welcomed the mayors' platform for boosting solar energy, called “Solar Mayors platform”.
Given that the potential of solar energy usage is increasing, due to constant technology developments, as well as affordability of solar panels due to decreasing prices in the last decade, it is necessary to find new financial models and form a platform for the exchange of experiences. For that reason, the “Solar Mayors platform” has been launched, where all the participants will have an opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the usage of solar energy, share best practices and promote citizen engagement in the usage of renewable energy sources. The platform should establish cooperation between the local and national levels, involve civil society organisations, private sector and citizens in increasing transparency and efficiency of institutions, and encourage innovation and cooperation of all stakeholders.
New financial models such as crowdfunding, energy cooperatives, cryptocurrencies (SolarCoin) and energy service companies financed by savings (ESCO) were presented during the event and it is expected that these models will support the increase of solar energy production in cities.
The participants of the workshop included representatives from the city of Kragujevac, Niš and Šabac, who gained valuable knowlegde about crowdfunding campaigns, which they plan to implement during this and next year in order to purchase solar panels and install them on public building roofs. Depending on the type of projects, it is planned to raise funds through donation crowdfunding for projects in Kragujevac (kindergarten Zeka) and Šabac (Center for children and youth), while the funds for procurement of solar panels for the public utility company "Toplana Šabac" will be secured through investment crowdfunding. Representatives of these cities are the first who joined the “Solar Mayors Club” which provides them with an opportunity to connect with other cities, exchange experience in crowdfunding campaigns and support implementation of similar projects in other cities in Serbia.