There is a distinct difference between the make-up of the German solar process heat segment and the country’s solar thermal market in general and it concerns the type of collectors used. One in four collectors used in solar process heat systems is an air collector, although the technology contributes only around 10 % to the total collector area newly installed each year. The same has been true for vacuum tube systems, which showed a 35 % share in solar process heat installations among approved projects in 2016 – despite an overall market share of only 9 % last year. All figures are based on statistics provided by the University of Kassel’s Institute of Thermal Engineering, which has been in charge of the research accompanying the subsidy scheme on solar process heat under the auspices of Germany’s Market Rebate Programme for Renewable Energies or MAP.
Chart: solrico, source: Institute of Thermal Engineering, University of Kassel
Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, awarded prizes to 102 institutions, companies and agencies for their achievements in high-temperature solar process heat and cooking. The photo shows the minister calling on the manufacturers to share their innovative ideas and make India a unique place for the demonstration of solar process heating technologies. The Concentrated Solar Technology Excellence Awards 2016 ceremony was organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in cooperation with the GEF-UNDP programme for concentrating solar thermal and took place in New Delhi on 29 April 2016. This was the first time in the history of India’s solar thermal industry that so many awards were presented at only one event. Additionally, 37 projects from all over the country received sanction letters for the MNRE capital subsidy and GEF-UNDP support scheme.
The third of December 2014 was a historically sunny day for the German solar thermal sector: On this date, the government approved the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, NAPE, which had been drafted by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The document lists a number of short-term measures to help reach the national target of 14 % of renewable heat by 2020 (see the attached document in German). The key measure is a tax rebate for the energy-efficient modernisation of buildings, worth EUR 1 billion annually. The German renewable associations welcomed the plan, but called on politicians to find a compromise with the state governments as soon as possible because their refusal blocked the implementation of a similar measure two years ago.
Enertracting, located in Kassel, Germany, offers solar heat as an Energy Service Company (ESCO). Its first flagship project has been a gas pressure regulating system, for which the company presented some financial and operational data at a workshop organised by the Thuringian Ministry of Economy, Employment and Technology in Erfurt in June 2014. The project, which is located in the town of Großseelheim in central Germany, has a fixed 15-year heat price of 55 EUR/MWh, which allows for a 7 % benefit for the investor (in this case, Enertracting) and a payback period of seven years. The key factors: a required temperature of between 20 and 40 °C, as well as a 30 % subsidy by the German KfW banking group.
German engineering company Ökoplan has built a 1,586 m³ ice storage in one of Hamburg’s residential areas to save solar heat from summer for winter. Parts of the heating system have already begun operating; the start of the ice storage is scheduled for October 2014. The chiller with a thermal output of 600 kW will then run like a heat pump to extract the heat from the water in the ice storage. The operation temperature of the storage is between +20 and 0°C, also including the latent heat which becomes available when the water freezes. The solar heat will be used to melt the huge ice block between April and October in order to regenerate the storage during summer.
After a long debate, the tax bill for the energy-efficient modernisation of buildings died before being enacted. In summer 2011, the German parliament had agreed on the law, which was to become part of the German climate action plan. But because it would have affected the states’ budgets, their approval was needed as well. In January 2013, the Federal Council (the legislative body representing the states) announced that efforts to mediate between the federal government and the states had ultimately failed to delivery any results. The draft will not become law. There will be no tax credit for insulating one’s house. Property owners, however, can still pass 11 % of the costs on to the tenants each year.
Photo: Viktor Mildenberger/pixelio.de
The Federal Environment Ministry has approved new frame conditions for the MAP, the national Market Rebate Programme for Renewable Energies. Since 15 August, house owners have been receiving a minimum subsidy of EUR 1,500 for a solar combi system, which supplies hot water and space heating. The original tariff of 90 EUR/m2 stays in place additionally. The German Environment Minister, Peter Altmaier (see photo), has also reinforced the state’s commitment to process heat: Clients can now receive a subsidy of 50 % of the net investment costs under the MAP programme. So far, the only measure to cover part of the investment costs (30%) had been a low-interest loan by the German KfW banking group.
Photo: German Environment Ministry