Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative (GSWH)

Generally composed of solar thermal collectors, solar water heaters provide a simple, cost-effective, and sustainable means of heating water for domestic and other uses.  In addition to reducing green house gas emissions, solar water heating (SWH) offers a host of potential benefits to both individuals and governments seeking to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.  In countries where energy demands are exceeding capacity, SWH can reduce pressure on the national power system and diminish pollution produced by conventional energy sources.  Economic benefits include enhanced employment opportunities and the creation of small- and medium-sized SWH businesses.  The development of such business could, in turn, lead to improved product quality.

While active promotion of SWH in selected countries has resulted in very high rates, so far, relatively few countries have benefited from this technology. Consequently, there are still significant opportunities for promoting SWH in the countries that have not yet profited from this technology.


The goal of the Global Solar Water Heating (GSWH) project is to accelerate the global commercialization and sustainable market transformation of solar water heating (SWH), thereby reducing the current use of electricity and fossil fuels for hot water preparation.

The GSWH project is a joint initiative undertaken by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is funded by the Global Environment Facilty (GEF), with co-financing by the International Copper Association (ICA). This initiative builds on the encouraging market development rates already achieved in some GEF program countries and seeks to further expand the market in other countries with good SWH potential where the prerequisites for market uptake appear to exist.


The project has two main components: The “Global Knowledge Management and Networking Component” and the Country Programs Component.

1.     Global Knowledge Management and Networking Component: This component is executed by UNEP and a network of partners to facilitate co-coordinated, timely and professional technical backstopping. It serves as a catalyst to stimulate and initiate sustainable SWH market transformation globally. This component has two main outputs:

Outcome-1: The development of a knowledge management web portal for solar thermal professionals and stakeholders, (, with the primary objective of being the main reference website worldwide for the solar thermal sector. The web portal (platform) offers:

  • Market advocacy network of users, fostering successful market growth in the solar thermal sector
  • Information divided in five key pillars for SWH market development: awareness, finance and incentives, policy, certification and training and education;

 Geared towards professionals, this knowledge-based web portal offers the latest news and background information on the  development of the international solar thermal sector.

Outcome-2: The establishment of a network of international and regional institutions to serve as regional knowledge hubs to develop and disseminate knowledge products and services, and this includes:

  • Information collection: including best practices, guidelines and full case studies in the project countries
  • Knowledge products and tools: including guidelines, technical study reports, regional market assessments and solar thermal modelling tools;
  • Dissemination and training: including conducting regional workshops and webinars.

 UNEP is implementing the knowledge management component in close cooperation with seven regional partners, Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Energie (OME)Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE)European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), the Regional enter for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), the UNEP DTU Partnership and the Caribbean Green Technology Center.

​2.     The Country Programs Component: this component consists of a bundle of specific programs for the 5 countries: AlbaniaChile, IndiaLebanon, and Mexico. This Country Programs Component has been implemented under UNDP’s National Execution Modality (NEX).

The work performed in the Country Programs is articulated around addressing four specific components to solar water heating development as explained in figure below:


Project Partners’ Website Links:

Project Regional Partners:


Project Countries:


Project’s Promotional Material (Please refer to the end of the web page to download flyers):