Sweden’s Solar Heat Market on Hold

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 20, 2017
The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) programme has recently updated its country report on Sweden’s solar thermal industry, pointing out the increasing competition with other energy technologies and the factors exacerbating the decline in sales. It seems as if not even the rather high national carbon tax can reinvigorate the country’s solar heat market. Especially in the residential segment, fossil fuels have already been phased out and biomass boilers plus district heating have become the standard in cities, while heat pumps dominate in rural areas. The photo shows a solar facade with vacuum tube collectors in the Swedish city of Malmö. 
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

India’s Solar Thermal Industry Calls for Awareness Raising to Boost Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 19, 2017
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has organised a panel discussion with entrepreneurs and policymakers at the Renewable Energy India (REI) Expo 2017 about the Industrial Application of Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST). Held in Greater Noida near New Delhi from 20 to 22 September 2017, the 11th edition of REI attracted more than 750 exhibitors from 45 countries and was accompanied by a three-day conference titled Accelerating Momentum...From Ambition to Action. UNIDO also announced that it would extend its 5 % interest subvention offer from industrial end users to concentrating dish manufacturers.
Photo: UMB Group/REI
 

EU Renewables Directive Revision Could Give New Impetus to Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 17, 2017
The European Parliament is planning to vote on a revised Renewable Energy Directive next February. About 1,300 amendments had been submitted until July 2017 related to the first draft of the revised directive from November 2016 (see attached document). The amendments are currently discussed by the members of the ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) Committee. The main task of José Blanco López (see photo), a Spanish ITRE member and the rapporteur of the Directive draft, is to reach an agreement on the so-called compromise amendments. They are to represent the shared view of the committee, so that the directive can secure enough support in parliament. Its members are scheduled to vote on these ITRE amendments on 28 November and the solar thermal industry is looking to ensure that the solar thermal sector isn’t being left out of the loop.
 

SHC Solar Award: Five Finalists with Successful Support Policies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 15, 2017
Administrators of successful solar thermal support schemes are in the focus of this year’s Solar Award of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC). The jury has chosen five finalists, of which one will receive the SHC Solar Award during the IEA SHC’s joint conference with ISES Solar World Congress (SWC 2017) in Abu Dhabi on 1 November 2017. The finalists come from Australia, Austria, Germany, Lebanon and Tunisia (see logos above). They implemented very different support policies, such as rebates and/or loans as well as building obligations. Their activities all had a strong impact on their national or regional solar heating and cooling market.

Ukraine’s Largest Collector Field Installed at Mariupol Port

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 13, 2017
Sint SolarSeptember saw the commissioning of Ukraine’s largest solar thermal system. Its 252 flat plate units add up to 518 m² of gross collector area and supply heat to the showers and kitchens at Mariupol, a major trading port on the Sea of Azov, near the Black Sea. The renovation of the boiler building hasn’t been completed yet, so that the solar installation will only be fully operational next year.
Photo: Sintek
 

Solar District Heating: How to Tackle Land Use Issues

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 11, 2017
SDH double useUsually, solar district heating (SDH) plants require large fields for collector installations, which has raised concerns at local level because of competing land uses and a system’s potential visual impact on the surroundings. One way out of this dilemma is to combine heat generation and fruit and vegetable harvest (see illustration). As part of SDHp2m…From Policy to Market, a Horizon 2020 project, some regions are looking to create regulations based on best practice examples of land use or spatial heat planning. This article will present showcases from the Styria region in Austria, Hamburg in Germany and Valle d’Aosta in Italy (see also the attached fact sheets).
Graphic: Hamburg Institut Research
 

Switzerland: Plans for Solar District Heating Pilot System

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 10, 2017
“Why is there no solar district heating in Switzerland?” Swiss scientists were asking after their visit to Denmark. They had been investigating the feasibility of solar heat in district heating networks in the St Gallen canton and published a 50-page study this March (see the attached document in German). As it turns out, solar heat could be produced in several networks for 60 to 160 CHF/MWh (50 to 140 EUR/MWh). Assuming plant owners or operators could get an incentive similar to the one for small-scale solar heat systems, it would make several larger ones economically viable. Now, the Swiss-based SPF – Institute of Solar Technology has begun to work with a district heating company on giving the country its first pilot plant.
 

IEA SHC Task 56: Cooperation on Energy Balance and Building Design Tools

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 5, 2017
Task 56 meetingFacades of residential and tertiary buildings offer enough space for daylight control and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. Active envelope solutions include facade-integrated solar thermal collectors, PV panels, daylight control systems or panels containing ventilation units with heat recovery and/or a heat pump with all necessary connectors. Optimising their performance and building integration has been one of the main objectives of an international research programme called Building Integrated Solar Envelope Systems for HVAC and Lighting, also known as Task 56 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. The photo shows the around 20 task experts who met at Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, on 21–22 September.
Photo: EURAC
 

Switzerland: Strong Heat Pump and PV Competition

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 3, 2017
Switzerland market statisticsThere couldn’t be a starker contrast between the market development of two renewable heat segments: Whereas Swiss heat pump sales remained at around 18,400 units per year from 2014 to 2016, collector sales dropped significantly from 117,634 m² in 2014 to 66,699 m² last year. Market volume is now below where it was ten years ago and solar water heaters are facing strong competition from heat pumps and photovoltaics (see attached market report in German and French). The annual solar thermal symposium on 8 November in Dübendorf near Zurich will provide an opportunity to discuss alternative applications and technologies.
Source: Swissolar
 

Slovenia: On the Path to Renewable District Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 2, 2017
Rok SunkoDistrict heating networks supplied by renewable energy sources (RES) are widely recognised today as one of the most effective ways to decarbonise the heating sector. The EU’s CoolHeating project has been supporting the implementation of small, modular renewable heating and cooling grids for towns in southeastern Europe by transferring knowledge from leading countries such as Austria, Denmark and Germany to newcomers, for example, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. It has also led to the publication of a handbook – Small modular renewable heating and cooling grids – available in seven languages (see the attached PDFs). Solarthermalworld.org talked to Rok Sunko (see photo) from one of the project partners, Skupina Fabrika about current developments and the outlook of RES district heating in Slovenia. The company is a Slovenian-based R&D business focusing on renewables, IT solutions and branding.
Photo: Skupina Fabrika
 

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