Visitor Center Pecka, near town of Baraći in Bosnia and Herzegovina, attracts people of all ages and from all places, due to large number of natural attractions in its vicinity, such as Sana river springs, biggest natural climbing site in Bosnia and Herzegovina, biking and hiking trails, outdoor festival, etc.
While serving as a major tourist attraction, Visitor Center Pecka aims to be a rural sustainable tourism project, working with the local community, respecting the environment, promoting nature and biodiversity protection, contributing both to sustainable development and fight against climate crisis.
In order to improve energy sustainability project plans installation of solar panels up to 10 kW of power on the roof of the Visitor Center. In 2019 Center for Environment together with partners organized a big media and crowdfunding campaign making this plan possible (more information here). Currently, the project’s documentation has been submitted to the proper authorities, and the procedure to get a license is underway.
Why solar energy?
What makes Solar Pecka even more important is that it followed a 10 year-long fight against a mini hydro power plant on the Sana spring. Unfortunately, the investor built the power plant and it started functioning in 2018, disrupting the supply of water and ironically electricity to the local people, among many other problems it caused. This is why the project is so important, not only to provide clean energy, but to stand as an alternative to damaging and non-sustainable sources of energy and an example of how solar energy can be used for power generation in rural areas, while making a tourists’ attraction environmentally friendly.
New solar collectors
Additional aspect of Visitor Center energy sustainability is installation of solar collectors for water heating which will be realized with the help of SEENET small subgrant. Making of “do-it-yourself” solar collectors for water heating has been much simplified lately. Investment in the construction of solar collectors returns after five years, after which it is free and environmentally friendly warm water for at least another 15 years, what is the minimum lifetime of the device.
The idea, for the spring 2021, is to build a solar collector at a “do-it-yourself” workshop which will be curated by an expert. On the workshop environmental activist will learn how to make and install “do-it-yourself” solar collector. Afterwards, they will install the collector at the kitchen of Visitor Center Pecka, setting up a small system for the use of local renewable energy sources. Segments of the workshop on making a solar collector and its installation will be filmed and used as a tool for promotion of clean energy.