Lebanon seems to be one of only a handful of countries that are on track for meeting their solar thermal targets. The market statistics from the Lebanese Centre for Energy Conservation (LCEC) show around 250,000 m² of collector area were installed between 2009 and 2014, which exceeded the government’s aim of 190,000 m² for the same period. The second target set in 2009 – a collector area of 1 million m² by 2020 – is just as realistic, LCEC confirmed in its recently published National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) for the Republic of Lebanon 2016-2020 (see the attached document). The chart shows an estimated market increase of 600,000 m² between 2016 and 2020. The LCEC researchers and authors of Lebanon’s second NREAP also underline the importance of continuing the country’s financing mechanism.
During the last seven years, a group of scientists has monitored selected large solar thermal installations in Austria on behalf of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund. The gathered data confirms that these plants have been reliable and produce satisfactory yields. Particularly the new generation of large-scale medium-temperature collectors either with a foil or with a second glass cover shows remarkable results in district heating use. The 2,490 m² solar field (see photo) which has fed heat into the district heating network of Graz, Austria, reached a yield of 489 kWh/m².
The biggest challenge for a small market like the solar cooling one – which has still a long way to go – is how to reduce system costs. One way to achieve this objective besides increasing market volume is standardisation. Companies from around the globe have responded to the challenge by developing pre-engineered solar cooling kits. To provide a better overview of the innovative technologies in this field, the researchers of IEA SHC Task 53, New Generation Solar Cooling and Heating Systems, collected technical data on 10 small to medium solar cooling units and published them in table form (see the attached document). The list includes market-ready as well as close-to-market solutions.
Three weeks before the ISH 2017 opens its doors again between 14 and 18 March 2017, the German renewable heating associations published their annual market statistics for 2016. The trend is clear: Low oil and gas prices have reduced demand for solar water heating systems (-8 %) and biomass boilers (-3 %), whereas the German heat pump industry can be more than satisfied with 17 % growth. The ISH is Europe’s largest trade fair for bathroom design, energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and renewable energies and takes place every two years in Frankfurt, Germany.
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 Tochkareports 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.