Industrial solar heat is far from being a standard yet, but it is more widespread than you might think. The first World Map of Solar Process Heat Specialists shows 71 companies in 22 countries which reported almost 400 reference systems. Together with additional plants included in the online portal ship-plants.info, the world market for industrial process heat comprises at a minimum 525 plants with an collector or mirror area of at least 416,414 m².
Amul Fed Dairy based in Gandhinagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat is one of the country’s biggest milk-processing plants and is owned by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation. In October 2016, it had a 560 m² parabolic trough collector field installed to allow for the feed-in of solar steam into the factory grid. The INR 15.7 million (around EUR 220,000) system was set up by Thermax, an Indian manufacturer of solar heating and cooling technology. It was designed to reduce gas consumption by about 50,000 m³ each year – which barely meets 0.59 % of the energy demand for the entire facility. India is one of the world’s largest producers of milk, with an annual output of 140 million tonnes, a figure that will probably rise to 200 million by 2022.
The California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) named Ed Murray, a solar expert with more than 30 years of experience in the field, its new president in early January 2017. He succeeded Rick Reed, Director of California-based collector manufacturer Sunearth. Murray, a 25-year member of CALSEIA, is President of Aztec Solar, a solar heating and solar electricity system supplier from Sacramento, California. “He’s the right person to lead CALSEIA in the uncertain times ahead,” reads the press release sent the day after the election. “I attend meetings in the states and in Washington DC to make sure that SHC is kept on the agenda and not completely overshadowed by solar PV,” Murray describes his commitment to solar thermal. The photo shows Murray (right) and Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the California State Assembly.
The Republic of Macedonia has been in a state of political turmoil for some time. The most recent general election was held in December 2016, but it is still unclear whether a new government can be formed. Considering the circumstances, the provisional authorities have taken laudable steps to maintain a sense of continuity when it comes to national renewable energy policy. In late January, the Ministry of Economy extended the Programme for partial subsidising of purchased and installed solar thermal collectors in households. “This scheme has been a success since its implementation in 2007 and attracts broad interest,” the country’s economy minister, Driton Kuchi, explained on TV Nova on 7 February. Online news portal Tocka reports that between 2007 and 2016 (see the chart above), the programme supported 4,237 households with a total of Macedonian Denar (MKD) 54 million (around EUR 900,000).
Argentina has officially declared 2017 the Renewable Energy Year. A recent report published by the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial (INTI), a division of the Ministry of Industry, confirms that the national solar thermal market has been growing: An industry survey shows the solar heat segment to have doubled each year between 2012 and 2015, and another increase is expected for 2016. Meanwhile new legislation intended to promote the Use of Solar Thermal Energy of Low and Medium Temperature is still on hold, but stakeholders see it being approved over the next two months.
The new Union Budget that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented on 1 February 2017 proved the country’s commitment to renewable energy deployment. The funds available to the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) will increase by 9 % from INR 50.36 billion (around EUR 720 million) in 2016-2017 to INR 54.73 billion (about EUR 782 million). There have also been new tax regulations on solar-tempered glass, and the minister announced the creation of a development fund for the dairy processing industry and infrastructure development. The photo shows the inside of the solar-tempered glass factory of Gujarat Borosil Glass Works.
The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme has published a Call for Nominations for its 2017 Solar Award. Until 1 May 2017, administrators of successful SHC support programmes or policies can be nominated for the award, which will be presented at the International Conference on Solar Heating and Cooling for Buildings and Industry taking place in Abu Dhabi from 29 October to 2 November. “Recipients will have demonstrated substantial achievement and measurable market impact from a programme / policy measure implemented in the last 5 to 10 years to support solar heating and cooling,” the call announcement reads. Nominations can be submitted online.
Italy’s solar thermal market experienced another 10 % drop in 2016 despite the availability of at least two appealing incentive schemes: a 65 % tax reduction for small systems and Conto Termico 2.0, a revised national support scheme in place since the beginning of 2016 to support plants of up to 2,500 m². To find out more about the primary reasons for the continuing decline of the national market, solarthermalworld.org spoke with Federico Musazzi, Secretary General of Assotermica, the Italian Association of Manufacturers of Equipment and Components for Heating Systems, and official at the umbrella organisation ANIMA, the Federation of Italian Associations in the Mechanical and Engineering Industries.
Professor Vitaly A. Butuzov is one of Russia’s well-known experts on solar heating and cooling. He is professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Heat and Renewable Energy of Kuban State Agrarian University in Krasnodar, the capital of the region which bears its name. This region is one of the main economic centres in southern Russia. Additionally, Butuzov is Director of Krasnodar Power Technologies, which offers solar thermal systems in combination with geothermal units and energy efficiency projects. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with him about market development in Russia.
Two large industry events in China over the last months have shown that there is great demand for discussion regarding the transformation of the domestic solar heating and cooling market. The Green Business Forum attracted around 1,000 solar thermal stakeholders to Dezhou in Shandong province from 22 to 25 September, and several hundred industry representatives took part in the annual assembly of the Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF) from 7 to 9 December in Kunming, Yunnan province (see photo). According to the latest CSTIF figures, the solar thermal market experienced a sharp 9 % decline last year from 43.5 million m² to 39.5 million m², which reduced it to 60 % of the size it had had in the peak year of 2013.