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Switzerland: Solar Thermal Market Decline, Unclear Policy Situation

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 28, 2016
In 2015, the solar collector area newly installed in Switzerland shrunk by 16 % compared to 2014. Imports outperformed domestic production, and larger systems for multi-family and commercial buildings, particularly those with vacuum tubes, have gained market shares. These are some of the key findings of the annual study published by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (see attached study in German and French). Some cantons will completely halt incentives for solar heat because of budget restrictions. 
 

Germany: Thermondo Digitalises Heating Industry Planning and Sales

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 29, 2016
Thermondo Management TeamStart-up Thermondo, based in Berlin, Germany, has turned the tables on sales and planning methods for home heating systems. Not only does the company generate its turnover online, it also leaves most of the planning for heating installations to a computer algorithm called “Manfred”. Surprisingly, Philipp Pausder, one of the two managing directors of Thermondo, said that the most important outcome of the new strategy wasn’t low prices but great service. The photo shows Thermondo’s three founding members (from left): Philipp Pausder, Florian Tetzlaff and Kristofer Fichtner.
Photo: Thermondo
 

Slovakia: Industry Waits on Incentive Programme Start

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 20, 2015
ThermosolarSince Slovakia and its 5.45 million citizens joined the European Union in 2004, the country has made considerable progress in increasing its energy efficiency and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Solar thermal technology, however, is still a niche market with stagnating annual volumes over the last three years. The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation estimates that 5,500 m² were newly installed in 2014, whereas EurObserv´Er published a figure of 7,000 m² for the same year. With 19 kW of solar thermal capacity in operation per 1,000 inhabitants at the end of 2013, there is still a lot of untapped potential given the fact that in the neighbouring Czech Republic, the parameter is significantly higher with 31 kW per 1,000 inhabitants (Source: Solar Heat Worldwide). Clients are now waiting on an already announced new subsidy scheme which should have started at the beginning of August. The photo shows a roof integration system delivered by Thermosolar, a collector manufacturer based in Slovakia.
Photo: Thermosolar
 

Poland: Swiss Contribution Ups Solar Thermal Funding

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 28, 2015
Poland HospitalThe binational cooperation between Switzerland and Poland to support solar thermal technology has reached the halfway mark: According to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), there were around 30,000 m² of solar water heaters installed between 2012 and 2014. Until the end of the implementation process in December 2016, this number should rise to at least 103,000 m2 for an estimated 20,000 private households and 195 public institutions. The photo shows a solar thermal collector field at a public hospital in Poland. 
Photo: SECO
 

Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings: “Smart integration of home automation with heating technology”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 13, 2014
Koebbemann-RengersAccording to the regulation on the overall energy efficiency of buildings, the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2010/31/EU) passed on 19 May 2010, EU Member States must ensure that all new builds are nearly zero-energy houses from 2021 on – in the public sector, the directive will even apply two years earlier. With its energy-plus house designs, Bosch Thermotechnik has already been offering such solutions which not only meet but go below the future building standards. Already realised energy-plus houses mostly rely on combinations of PV system and electric heat pump. Many building designs also incorporate a solar thermal system for domestic hot water. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Ralf Köbbemann-Rengers, Vice President Engineering Solar Thermal Systems and Storage Tanks at Bosch Thermotechnik.
Photo: Bosch Thermotechnik
 

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