Solar Energy Brings Savings to Orphanage in Armenia
The children at the “SOS Children’s Village” in Kotayk, Armenia now have a new, low-cost source of hot water–the sun. Recently, 14 cottages of the orphanage were equipped with solar collectors to provide hot water for domestic use. Switching from grid-based electricity to solar energy enabled the orphanage to reduce the cost of its electrical consumption by about $4,000 annually. The solar water heating project was implemented under the USAID Clean Energy and Water Program (CEWP) which is managed by ME&A.
Soon after the solar water heating system went on-line inspectors from the local electrical utility visited the orphanage to investigate the electrical consumption data generated by the electric meters. Given that the energy bills at SOS Children’s Village had dropped dramatically, the utility suspected that the orphanage had somehow cheated on its electrical consumption. When institution administrators demonstrated the solar collectors on the roofs of the cottages, inspectors soon understood that the reason for reduced electrical consumption was, in fact, energy efficiency measures and not an illegal modification of the meters.
On November 1, 2013, the staff and children of “SOS Children’s Village” celebrated the completion of their solar water heating project. Participating in the celebration were the USAID Mission Director, Dr. Karen Hilliard, and local government officials from the neighboring villages. In her remarks, Dr. Hilliard noted the importance of clean energy projects in view of rising energy tariffs in Armenia. She also pointed out that renewable energy projects are cost effective in the long run and are based on environmentally friendly technologies. The children then led Dr. Hilliard and other guests on a tour through their newly equipped cottages and entertained them with a musical program.
The CEWP is a USAID-funded four-year project designed to support Armenia in improving sustainable management of its water and energy sectors.