In the Georgian countryside, many are reliant on firewood for heating. Can local energy cooperatives help fight the resulting air pollution and deforestation, and help families save cash, with a solar-powered fix?
Project aim: Replacing wood-burning stoves and other polluting heat sources with solar water heaters to improve air quality and prevent deforestation.
Project partners: WECF, a network of women’s, environmental and health organizations, and, locally, Friends of the Earth Georgia.
Project implementation: So far 850 solar water heaters have been installed in Georgia, saving an estimated 850 tons of CO2 a year and 3 cubic meters of wood per solar-water heater yearly.
Nana Gurabanidze lives in Ivandidi, a village in rural Georgia. Like many women there, she has her hands full each day looking after her grandkids, making cheese to sell at market and keeping an eye on the family farm animals. To keep her household going, she needs warm water — and a lot of it. Usually she would rely on a small traditional wood-burning stove in her living room for the task, as is common in the countryside.
The wood is expensive and comes from surrounding forest. Trees are being felled faster than they’re being replaced across the country. But Georgia gets a lot of sun year-round. So Nana and her family turned to a local energy cooperative for help installing a solar-powered water heater. It’s one of 850 that have already been installed across the country.