Lisbon, 18 March – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), together with mayors from eight countries - Moldova, Serbia, Georgia, Tajikistan, Croatia, Somalia, Lebanon and Portugal - today launched a new initiative to boost financing for solar energy in cities across the world.
The Solar Mayors platform will connect cities around the topic of energy transition and production of solar energy in urban contexts. Functioning as an online community, the platform represents an opportunity for Mayors to learn about the latest trends in the industry, share best practices, and collectively promote citizen engagement.
The platform encourages peer-to-peer learning and cooperation with the private sector and NGOs, two factors recognized as important factors for success of solar projects in cities.
"With the dramatic decrease in costs that we have witnessed in the last ten years, bringing solar prices down by a factor of ten, it will be exciting to see more and more regions and cities embracing solar energy as a backbone of their development", remarked Raffaele Rossi, Policy Analyst at SolarPower Europe.
Solar technology has only recently begun to take off globally. Until recently, high equipment costs, risky markets, lack of clear commitments at local levels and limited experience with bringing in financing have all proven to be major obstacles. As of 2018, only two percent of the world's electrical energy is produced with solar, with over 50 percent of new installed capacities come from solar.
New financing models, such as the community funding models (crowdfunding, crowd-investment, energy cooperatives), energy service companies financed by savings (ESCO), and cryptocurrencies (such as SolarCoin) are widely expected to help increase solar energy production by bringing financing from impact investors at lower interest rates. Active participation of local administrations, mayors, citizens and the private sector can accelerate generation and use of solar energy in cities.
At the launch ceremony, the mayors will conclude and sign the Solar Mayors Charter, resolving to promote solar energy installations in their cities.
The initiative is launched by the United Nations Development Programme, together with the Citizenergy platform, the European aggregator platform of all sustainable energy crowdfunding platforms and Energy Cities Europe's largest Association of local authorities for energy transition.
Portugal was chosen as host for the kick-off event due to the country's international reputation as a renewable energy leader and for being home to the local platform GoParity, which runs the Citizenergy aggregator together with the UNDP AltFinLab.
The initiative is co-funded by the UNDP's Global Innovation Facility, and is initiated by UNDP Moldova, UNDP AltFinLab and Citizenergy.