From Laiakini Waqanisau, Energy and Environment Section, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Suva, Fiji
Posted 20 January 2012
Greetings colleagues,

I am Laiakini Waqanisau, an environment associate with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Energy and Environment section. I am working on the three year Palau Sustainable Economic Development through Renewable Energy Applications (SEDREA) project, along with the UNDP Energy Specialist –Thomas Jensen, and a SEDREA Mid-Term Review Consultant – Frank Pool. A brief overview of the project is available at

The SEDREA project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with the Palau Energy Office (Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce), National Development Bank of Palau (NDBP) and Palau Power Utility Corporation (PPUC) as its key implementing partners. The project is intended to contribute to the reduction in Palau’s consumption of imported fossil fuel through the widespread application of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs). To achieve this, one of the components of the project, focuses on the use of solar water heaters.

One of the priorities for the project is to support the identification, purchase, and installation of standard demonstration solar water heaters in residential and commercial developments in Palau. A key issue that needs to be addressed for the successful use of solar water heaters in Palau is how to handle the plumbing standards. Palau utilises U.S. imperial plumbing standards, fittings and generally mains pressure layouts. Inexpensive Chinese solar water heaters designs account for nearly 75% of global solar water heater sales and installations but these designs generally use metric plumbing fittings, low pressures, thermosyphon fed hot water tanks, and do not have electric back up which is incompatible in Palau’s case.

Given this situation, we are seeking guidance from CCD Community members on the following:
• What is your advice and/or experience on how to use commercially available solar water heaters in residential and commercial developments?
• If you have any experience in using solar water heaters that are compatible with U.S. style mains pressure applications, what has been your experience using them?

We would be very grateful if you could share your experiences with us and we look forward to your inputs.