PROMEE project's Follow-up and exploratory mission in Kyrgyzstan, August 2023

The PVSYST Foundation's project manager and PVsyst company's technical coordinator visited Kyrgyzstan to monitor the PROMEE (Professionals for Mastering Energy Efficiency) project. PROMEE's objectives are to train craftsmen in thermal insulation solutions and techniques, and to promote household access to these solutions through the granting of interest-free loans.

A second objective of the mission was to assess the feasibility of a second project, along with the teams of CAMP Alatoo, the implementing partner.

PROMEE : a promising first phase's ending

Some concrete results

During this first phase (October 2021 - October 2023), the project supported insulation works in 21 houses of the Karakol area (Issyk-Kul Oblast). This figure is a bit less than expected, due to undereestimation of work's costs for each house, as households chose to have several types of work carried out at the same time (roofs and external walls, windows and external walls, etc.). Far from being a failure, this underlines that the area's population were convinced of the relevance and efficiency of insulation work.

Outside-wall insulation, Issyk-Kul Oblast

 

Monitoring was carried out on around ten houses, with the installation of data collection devices (humidity, temperature). An initial analysis of the data for the winter of 2022-2023, carried out by PVsyst company technical collaborator, showed interesting results in terms of heat gain and humidity reduction.

This trend was confirmed by some households during the mission: they declared that they reduced their coal consumption by half (2.5 tonnes against 5 tonnes in average in the previous years). In the second phase, a more detailed protocol will be developed and a sharper monitoring will be implemented on a limited number of houses, with pre- and post-insulation measurements, as well as daily monitoring of fuel consumption.

Outside-wall insulation, Naryn Oblast

Food for thoughts

During the mission, some areas for improvement were identified:

  • Use of higher-performance insulation materials (glass or rock wool instead of penoplast).
  • Raising awareness of the importance of ventilation, to avoid problems of humidity, moisture and the related risks for health.
  • Mechanical protection to be installed at some key points (door stops, foundations) to prevent damage from weather, impact or animals (as shown in the pictures below).

Damages due to a lack of mechanical protection

These different solutions can generate additional costs, but will increase the efficiency and lifespan of the works, as well as home comfort.

Communication material (households) and technical resources (craftsmen) will be set up in a second phase of the project.

The PVSYST Foundation is currently working with CAMP Alatoo on the design of the second phase of the project.

Exploration for a cold-storage project

At the beginning.. 

CAMP Alatoo has identified various gaps during its strategy review process. One of them was the need for cold storage, particularly in the temperate area around Issyk-Kul Lake, which is favorable to fruit growing (apples, pears and apricots in particular).

Many areas around the lake have few or no such structures, leaving farmers dependent on market prices set by wholesalers in Bishkek, neighboring Kazakhstan or Russia. The impossibility of storing agricultural produce leaves no room for negotiation.

During the mission, cold storage facilities were visited, particularly in the northern area of Issyk-Kul Lake.

The visits allowed to :

  • Understand the modalities to run such facilities ;
  • Get information about costs (energy, etc.) and storage prices for farmers ;
  • State a gap of such equipment in some areas around the lake.

The economic benefits are considerable: for example, locally grown red apples are sold to wholesalers at around 30 soms per kilo in October and November. A month later, the price rises to 35 soms. When they are kept for a further 3 to 4 months and resold in spring, the price rises to 60 soms. Beyond the selling price, cold storage would also avoid losses linked to the precarious storage solutions currently used (outdoors, under mulch). These losses represent 10% of stored produce (compared with a maximum of 3 to 5% in the storage facilities we visited).

Identification of a relevant area for the project

Chon-Jargylchak's Aymak (district) seems to be quite interesting :

  • Significant number of families (400), small or medium producers (around 2 hectares).
  • Very scarce access to storage facilities.
  • An interesting community dynamic, on which the project could build.
In green : PROMEE project area. In blue : Chon-Jargylchak area

 

The main objective is to find the right balance between a participatory, social management of the facility, to ensure equity, and the economic aspect (costs, income, profitability) to ensure the facility's sustainability.

The PVSYST Foundation will therefore support CAMP Alatoo to conduct a preliminary study aimed at identifying local's populations interest for a participatory management and to get the main outlines of a business model (activities, resources, costs, economic environment, potential customers, partners, etc.). And thus, fostering the development of a socially relevant and sustainable project.

The significant amount of sunshine in the area and the first observations during the mission show a potential for using solar energy to power the cold-generation system. The feasibility shall be confirmed by the preliminary study, depending on various parameters (legal environment, equipment locally available , costs, etc.).

The PVSYST Foundation sincerely thanks CAMP Alatoo's team for its involvement and professionalism, as well as for the logistical organization of the mission.