Sirine Jammoussi's Green Business embraces Circular Economy with CLIMA project support: an insightful interview

Giulia Giovagnoli for COSPE

"Agriwatt Energy is an enterprise that aims to offer 'comprehensive and cost-effective alternative electricity solutions using renewable sources, particularly photovoltaics, in a sustainable, reliable, and ecological manner,' and contribute to environmental protection through the green production of electricity and the optimized collection, valorization, and recycling of damaged photovoltaic panels," explains Sirine Jammoussi, the young entrepreneur behind the innovative start-up. The project was launched in July 2020, with the idea brewing in Sirine's mind since her student days. She fondly recalls how her dream turned into reality after her involvement in the Tunisian-Italian financing program, REFAT. Today, Agriwatt Energy boasts a team of four individuals, including an engineer and three technicians, working passionately towards their mission.

Their initial focus on the installation and maintenance of photovoltaic systems expanded with a zero-waste vision. "We developed, theoretically, a new aspect of the project which is the 'collection, valorization, and recycling of used photovoltaic panels,” Sirine says. However, it was the fortuitous meeting with the CLIMA project that provided the essential support for their vision's realization. "CLIMA provided us with financial support for the development of the client platform, which allows online registration," Sirine emphasizes, highlighting the crucial financial backing from CLIMA, which enabled the creation of their user-friendly online platform, setting them apart from their competitors. "The CLIMA grant also allowed us to purchase the 'necessary equipment to enhance our photovoltaic panel collection and valorization activities,'" she adds, underlining the significant role played by CLIMA in advancing their photovoltaic panel collection and valorization efforts.

Giulia Giovagnoli for COSPE

In line with their commitment to addressing multiple needs - social, agricultural, and environmental - Agriwatt Energy ensures the reduction of electricity bills to almost zero for the clients of the national electricity (STEG) company while providing access to electricity and water pumping for those in rural and non-STE-connected farming areas. Sirine also highlights the importance of their environmental impact. "Agriwatt produces clean and renewable energy and develops a strategy for the 'recovery of damaged photovoltaic panels to prevent them from being discarded in nature,'" she passionately states, emphasizing their dedication to producing clean and renewable energy while simultaneously addressing the issue of discarded photovoltaic panels.

When it comes to innovation, Agriwatt Energy goes above and beyond to make their services convenient for clients. "Our platform can receive 'requests for installation quotes or requests for the collection of damaged panels,” Sirine mentions, stressing how they revolutionized the process for their clients, allowing them to access services without physical visits. Moreover, Agriwatt Energy excels in “the valorization of photovoltaic panels” by offering various options for clients, either purchasing the damaged panels or creatively repurposing them into other useful objects like poultry houses for small-scale farmers.

While their journey has been commendable, they faced critical challenges, including financial and administrative hurdles. "Our main problems were of a financial nature and related to the limited distribution of our products," Sirine reveals, shedding light on the financial challenges Tunisians face, impacting their ability to invest in photovoltaic projects despite government facilitations. Additionally, reduced subsidies and high-interest rates on project credits contributed to the public's hesitation toward adopting solar energy solutions.

Giulia Giovagnoli for COSPE

The CLIMA project has been instrumental in Agriwatt Energy's success, providing financial assistance and essential support. "CLIMA also provided us with training at the beginning of our journey and personalized guidance throughout almost a year," Sirine acknowledges, gratefully noting the valuable training and personalized guidance they received from the CLIMA team throughout their journey.

Looking ahead, Agriwatt Energy is dedicated to its vision of becoming a true zero-waste enterprise. "We hope for Agriwatt to become a genuine zero-waste company, which means being able to recycle 100% of photovoltaic panels," Sirine states with determination, painting a bright future where their commitment to environmental