How can solar energy be ideally integrated into an urban energy system? This has been the key question of IEA Task 52: Solar Heat and Energy Economics in Urban Environments. One and a half years after the task´s start in January 2014, scientists from Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland met in Freiburg for the third task meeting in mid-April to discuss cost assessments of existing plants and models for analysing complex urban energy systems. One of the first published outcomes is a study carried out by Austrian research institute AEE INTEC. It lists the costs of existing solar district heating plants in Denmark, Germany and Austria. The chart shows the preliminary results from levelised heat costs calculated for 29 collector fields of sizes between 500 and 55,000 m² integrated into district or micro grids.
After San Francisco, Freiburg and Beijing, it is now Istanbul’s turn to host the next international conference on Solar Heating and Cooling for Buildings and Industry, SHC 2015, from 2 to 4 December 2015. This year, the IEA SHC is partnering with the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation, ESTIF, and GÜNDER, the Turkish Section of the International Solar Energy Society. As in previous years, the conference will be organised by German service provider PSE. The recently started call for papers accepts submissions until 6 July 2015. Three conference chairs (from left) – Bülent Yeşilata (GÜNDER), Pedro Dias (ESTIF) and Daniel Mugnier (IEA SHC) – and a conference committee are in charge of setting up a conference programme which will cover a large variety of topics.
The Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) has organised a consultation meeting with the Union of Tyre Municipalities (UOTM) to discuss the implementation of a solar ordinance in the south of Lebanon. The workshop took place in the Platinum Hotel in the city of Tyre on 9 May under the patronage of Abdel Mohsen El Husseini, President of the UOTM. This consultation meeting was a follow-up to a series of bilateral talks with individual municipalities to introduce and promote the implementation of a solar obligation at municipality level. With its 60 municipalities, the UOTM is committed to adopting a solar obligation in the framework of a pilot project.
The Jordan Minister of Environment, Dr Taher Shakhshir, inaugurated the first solar steam system in Jordan on 17 May 2015. The Fresnel collector plant was set up on the roof of pharmaceuticals producer Ram Pharma, located at the Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein Industrial Estate about 15 km away from Amman, Jordan’s capital. The concentrating Fresnel collectors manufactured by Industrial Solar, Germany, supply steam at 160 °C to the factory’s steam grid, which provides the energy needed for sterilisation, drying and fermenting. Solar energy is said to save around 30 % of the annual diesel demand for Ram Pharma processes.
Spanish authorities have launched a new subsidy scheme for energy efficiency measures with a budget of EUR 200 million. The scheme supports solar thermal as one of several technologies, giving it direct monetary support of 20 % of the system costs. On 5 May, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism approved the so-called PAREER-CRECE programme (Programa de Ayudas para la Rehabilitación Energética de Edificios existents), a support scheme for increasing the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Since this very day, investors of solar thermal systems can apply for grants of up to 20 % of their investment costs (see the attached decree). In addition to the subsidy scheme, they can apply for a soft loan at Euribor rate without additional charges. These loans cover up to 70 % of the system costs and last 12 years. Applications for the programme can be submitted until 31 December 2016.
Solar thermal professionals who have taken an interest in solar district heating, in solar air conditioning or the Brazilian solar thermal market will be able to participate in dedicated conferences over the next months, namely the 3rd International Solar District Heating Conference in Toulouse, France, on 17-18 June, the 6th International Conference on Solar Air Conditioning in Rome, Italy, from 24-25 September and the 3rd Brazilian Solar Heating Congress in São Paulo, Brazil, between 2-3 September. All three events have already released their conference programme.
All smiles from Ritter Group management during the German Solar Thermal Technology Symposium at the beginning of May after they were given the innovation award for the demonstration plant of a steam-producing solar vacuum tube collector combined with a steam-jet chiller (from left): Thomas Weidemann, Division Manager Solar Collectors, Jürgen Korff, Chairman of Ritter Group management, and Dr Rolf Meißner, Managing Director of Ritter XL Solar. Ritter is a German manufacturer of CPC vacuum tube collectors. Five companies – among them Viessmann, Vaillant and Magontec – had applied for the award with a total of seven innovative technologies. The award is presented annually by the conference’s organiser, the East-Bavarian Institute for Technology Transfer, OTTI.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has revised priority sector lending norms, according priority sector lending status to renewable energy. Regulation Priority Sector Lending – Targets and Classifications published on 23 April 2015 mentions renewable energies as one of the priority sectors for bank loan schemes (see the attached document), meaning Indian banks will have to set aside a certain share of their total advances for renewable technologies. According to article 7, the loan limit for individual households will be Indian Rupee (INR) 1 million (around EUR 13,000). Market insiders are convinced that solar thermal technology will profit the most from it, as there has not yet been a financing scheme for purchasing solar water heaters or solar concentrator cooking systems.
There has been a change in the Brazilian Labelling Programme, PBE: The National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality, INMETRO, has simplified solar thermal certification in its new decree (Portaria n.° 159), which was published on 19 March 2015 (see the attached document) and will become mandatory in September 2015. The decree is INMETRO’s response to the criticism expressed by stakeholders from the Brazilian solar thermal industry during last year’s public consultation process. Back then, DASOL, the Solar Heating Department of the Brazilian Association of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Heating, ABRAVA, had asked the government to take the hassle out of certification by not forcing small companies to implement a quality management programme as required by certification model 5 or to test samples of production batches as demanded by model 7. These had been the two options established by basic decree Portaria n.° 352 published on 6 July 2012.