Solar in Kutë

Solar in Kutë: The first community project in Albania for the production of solar energy starts

++ After a fundraising campaign, solar panels are installed on the rooftops of public buildings and streets of Kutë village as an alternative to hydropower plants for the benefit of the local community and environment ++

December 3, 2021, Kutë, Mallakastër. Today the inauguration ceremony of the project “Solar in Kutë” took place in the village of Kutë, Mallakastër. Representatives from the Municipality of Mallakastër, the Embassy of the Switzerland, EcoAlbania and the residents of Kuta attended the event. The Solar Project in Kutë is an innovation project in Albania as it is the first community project for the generation of solar energy by installing an independent power generation system to supply electricity to the five public buildings of the village: Health Center, School, Culture Center, Administrative Unit and street lights.

Solar in Kutë is a successful initiative launched by EcoAlbania and its international partners Euronatur and Riverwatch in 2020. The initiative raised funds for the implementation of the solar energy in Kutë village – one of the communities of the Vjosa valley that would be affected by the Poçem hydropower plant. We came up with the idea of making Kutë village solar powered to give the strong message that the local communities can find less harmful alternatives to produce their energy,” said Olsi Nika, Executive Director of EcoAlbania.

After more than one year of fundraising, including crowdfunding, the Solar in Kutë project has now been implemented and will officially start producing energy after the inauguration event. This will power the community with solar energy in Kutë as an alternative to hydropower and serve as a shining example for other communities and villages in Albania.

I am glad that our strong partnership with civil society represented by EcoAlbania, community of Kutë and the municipality of Mallakatra has implemented modern techniques like rooftop Photo Voltaic panels and produced clear and tangible benefits for the citizens and the environment. These benefits include lower energy cost, reduced carbon emissions and pollution, better quality of life and more attractive villages. We believe that the initiative of Solar in Kutë village has created the first inspiring model of community owned energy in Albania to be followed by other communities and municipalities,” said Deputy Head of Mission of Embassy of Switzerland in Albania Patrik Meier.

The Municipality of Mallakastër and the residents of Kutë village are the direct beneficiaries of the Solar in Kutë project, while the project will serve as a good example for other communities in Albania.  Thanks to the cooperation between the Municipality of Mallakastër and EcoAlbania with the support of the Swiss Embassy and other donors, this investment was made possible in the village of Kuta. The Vjosa River as an internationalized asset, thanks also to EcoAlbania’s work should produce well-being for the inhabitants living here, maintaining the balance with nature. I think that the best option to develop this area is the development of environmentally friendly activities, like river sports and other public and tourist enterprises which are environmentally friendly “, said Zamir Malasi, Deputy Mayor of Mallakster.

“By using the rooftop areas of the village, we are aiming to change the village’s future from the question-mark of its existence toward building an environmentally friendly and economically viable model of renewable energy community” added Olsi Nika. 

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Solar in Kutë is introduced to Kutë friends

Tirana, June 23d 2020. Friends of Kutë – nature lovers, solar energy enthusiasts and supporters of the ‘Solar in Kute’ campaign, met to get a closer look at the progress of the online campaign of this project, but also to share new ideas on how to strengthen such initiatives in the country.

The ‘Solar in Kutë’, campaign  an initiative of partner organizations EcoAlbania, EuroNatur and Riverwatch, was officially launched on May 26th and during these weeks has brought to the attention of the general public the history of the Kutë community in protecting the Vjosa River and its capacity to produce solar energy on the roofs of buildings without the need to destroy the Vjosa river.

Olsi Nika, Exutive Director of EcoAlbania and Besjana Guri, Communication Officer shared with attendees their journey since the creation of ​​this pilot project, their close cooperation with the Kutë community, and challenges in raising awareness about avoiding the alternative of hydropower plants energy production and conservation of the Vjosa River as the last natural river in Europe.

The social and cultural values ​​of the Vjosa River are irreplaceable for the Kutë community, as people live not only near the river, but with the river. Vjosa has a special and essential place in the daily life of this community. Irisa Murataj, a resident of Kutë, shared her experience living with the Vjosa River, as well as what the community of Kutë would suffer if the Poçem hydropower plant were to be built.

As one of the most affected areas by the planned Poçem hydropower plant in the Vjosa valley, the campaign will continue to give voice to Kutë community and support them in the battle to save their homes and lands.

And more information here:  

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Video messages of Solar in Kutë initiative’ supporters

The “Solar in Kutë” initaitave aims to create the first solar  village in Albania (in Kutë, Mallakastër), starting with the installation of the PV panels in the rooftops of 5 public buildings. Kutë village is one of the most affected villages from the Poçem HPP and its community is known for their resistance against this hydropower plant. Thus this project would give them the opportunity to produce solar power to fulfill this energy needs without destroying their river. 

The campaign is supported by the local community, and friends of Vjosa. Find below their video messages: 

Kutë village could be a symbol not only for Albania but for all the Balkan! Follow the video message from Ulrich Eichelmann, the CEO of Riverwatch our partner for Solar in Kute project on why Solar is the better alternative for Albania!

Hydropower plants do not just destroy a river and it’s biodiversity, they also affect the daily lives of communities living not only next to the river but WITH THE RIVER. Listen to Barjam for more, on the consequences of building the dam in his village.

Join Irisa’s call from Kutë and donate for Solar in Kutë. She tells you more about the huge impact of solar energy on the local community of Kutë village. Together we can do so much!

The Head of Project Unit from EuroNatur shares more on the solar energy benefits for the Kutë community and the consequences of building hydropower plants on the Vjosa river. Vjosa is your river too!

Vjosa is a miracle! Follow the video of Guri Islami, a resident of Kuta who talks about the importance of the Vjosa and how the community lives WITH THE RIVER. Vjosa has a special and essential place in the daily life of the Kuta community.

Well-known journalist Ben Andoni joins our Solar in Kutë campaign. Support Solar Energy, which can be the future of energy not only for Kutë communitty but also for Albania.

Our Communication Officer Besjana Guri shares her views on the untapped potential of solar energy in Albania.


Help the Kutë community to save their lands and river and become the first solar village in Albania. Be part of this initiative and help us protect the Vjosa river.

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The Solar in Kutë campaign launched: an initiative to turn Kutë the first solar village in Albania

++ The destruction of the Vjosa River for hydro-energy purposes is not necessary. The project proposes other environmentally friendly alternatives ++

Tirana, May 27, 2020. Installation of solar panels to meet the energy needs of the whole of Kuta, as a form to stop the construction of hydropower plants on the Vjosa River is the aim of the fundraising campaign launched by EcoAlbania, EuroNatur and RiverWatch. This initiative comes at a time when the need for diversification of energy production resources in the country is more necessary than ever, while the last wild river in Europe is in danger of losing its high natural values due to the HPPs planned for construction.

Kutë village by the Vjosa river (c) Gregor Subic

Kuta is one of the villages that will be more affected by the construction of the Poçem hydropower plant in the Vjosa valley, while for years the residents of this village have shown resistance to oppose the construction of the hydropower plant. If this HPP will be built, Kuta would suffer a devastating economic situation, due to the flooding of over 2,500 ha of agricultural land, which would also cause the displacement of residents.

We want to make Kutë, an energy self-sufficient community. In addition, we aim to show that there is no need for destroying the river, as they can produce their own energy and create more income for the community” said Olsi Nika, EcoAlbania’s Executive Director. While the community of Kuta is struggling to save their homes, rivers and land, that form the basis of their daily lives, this initiative increases the demand on the Albanian government to use the high solar potential that our country has for electricity generation.

“Albania is at a cross-road. In the 21st century we have the chance to avoid the mistakes of the past. Solar power is an option to generate electricity with much less impact on nature and people than damming rivers. But how can a sunny country like Albania is still aiming to follow the old dirty path of destroying nature to produce energy, while ignoring modern options?! This solar initiative not only benefits people in Kutë, in the Vjosa valley, but is also a strong message for political decision-makers: what is possible in Kuta is possible throughout Albania and across the entire Balkans. ” Ulrich Eichelmann, Executive Director of Riverwatch.

Under these conditions, EcoAlbania and international partners are seeking support to bring a clean and sustainable source of power to the village of Kuta and at the same time to protect the Vjosa River from hydropower plants.

The campaign will be open for 30 days, on the Go Fund Me platform and at the EcoAlbania website.

Find the campaign here: 

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