Cover Image
close this bookCase for Solar Energy Investments (World Bank, 1996)
close this folderA solar initiate
close this folderPreparation and finance of commercial and near-commercial applications
View the documentSources of finance
View the documentBuilding a project pipeline
View the documentPre-pipeline activities: education and training
View the documentPricing policies and openness to private investment
View the documentPitfalls in implementation

Pre-pipeline activities: education and training

One further set of activities is required to begin the process of developing a project pipeline: this involves widening awareness in the industry of the possibilities being opened by the new solar technologies and providing education and training to people in the electricity industry and its financiers and regulators. Much uncertainty remains about costs, technical performance, and even the scale of the solar resource in many developing regions. This confusion arises as much from misperception (and often lack of awareness of what has been accomplished) as from any other factor. The predisposition of institutions - not least in the field of development finance and in the electric utilities - to "stay with the familiar" is also a factor.

Expanded education and training through workshops and visits to operating projects may contribute greatly to developing an investment program. Some of this work has already begun in some countries; it merits further attention. Universities in several countries are also offering advanced studies in renewable energy technologies that will help to prepare the ground for investments by training new generations of engineers.

It has rightly been proposed that relatively small amounts of finance for technical assistance from the donor community (including the GEF) could be well used for education and training as a prelude to the preparation and finance of investments. This was the approach used in developing the apparently very successful PV program in Kenya, referred to earlier, which, following the initial investments in skills training, developed wholly on the private initiative and investments of the trainees. As the U.S. DOE has commented, along with technology transfer, an effort must be made to build the necessary institutions and skills for the development of renewable energy; included in the solar initiative should be training and education such that domestic capabilities for research, investment, maintenance, and operation keep up with technological developments. We agree with this.