Renewable Global Futures Report: Experts Divided on Future of Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 5, 2017
CoverIs the transition to 100 % renewables at global level a feasible and realistic objective? What share will renewably sourced heat have by 2050? Will the electrification of heat continue? These are three of more than 100 questions which were answered in interviews with 114 experts from all around the world. Interviewees came from NGOs, research institutions, governmental bodies and international organisations. REN21’s Renewable Global Futures Report published in April 2017 summed up their explanations as part of twelve Great Debates. Lead author Dr Sven Teske from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, presented some of the key findings of the report during a June webinar organised by the International Solar Energy Society. 
 

Austria: Solar Power Market Up, Renewable Heat Down

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 4, 2017
Market Report Austria 2016
Last year, the Austrian solar thermal market declined for the seventh time in a row. The newly installed glazed collector area added up to 111,040 m² (78 MWth), 19 % below the one of 2015. Sales of biomass boilers experienced a similar drop, with wood chip boilers (<100 kW) down by 12 % and pellet boilers by 14 %. PV capacity was the only one growing again, rising to 156 MWp, 3 % above its 2015 total. These key figures have been taken from a report published annually by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, bmvit, and titled Innovative Energy Technologies in Austria – Market Development (see the attached document in German). This year’s 242-page document was first presented on 22 June in Vienna, Austria. The chapter starting on page 131 provides a comprehensive overview of the Austrian solar thermal market, including sales by collector type and application as well as export and import statistics. 
Image: bmvit
 

China: Sunrain Finalises Strategic Cooperation Agreements

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 30, 2017
Natural Ressources CanadaThe Chinese Sunrain group, the world’s biggest collector manufacturer, is broadening its product portfolio to include large-scale solar thermal plants. Sunrain had already made the first step towards globalising its strategic partnerships by establishing a joint venture with Danish-based Arcon-Sunmark in June 2016. It has now concluded a cooperation agreement with CanmetEnergy in Canada with the aim to develop solar district heating systems using borehole heat storage fields for seasonal storage in China. Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr (back row 2nd from left) oversaw the signing of the agreement during his visit to China in June 2017. The agreement was signed by Xinjian Xu, Founder and Board Chair of Sunrain Solar Energy (front right) and Frank Des Rosiers, Assistant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada’s Innovation and Energy Technology (front left).
Photo: Natural Ressource Canada
 

Hungary: Government Strengthens Support for Renewables and Energy Efficiency in Residential Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 26, 2017
Spring SolarWhile Hungary’s plans to add two Russian reactors to the Paks nuclear power station have caused quite the stir, the eastern European country’s green energy policies seem to have gone largely unnoticed. On 8 May 2017, during the first Nordic Green Light business forum in Hungary’s capital Budapest, László Szabó, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that his country was striving for a more demand-responsive energy infrastructure by utilising locally available renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. As a first step, it has started to offer zero-interest loans to homeowners for improving building efficiency and installing renewable energy systems. The photo shows a vacuum tube collector installation at the Panorama Hotel in Siófok, a town to the southwest of the Hungarian capital.
Photo: Spring Solar
 

USA: Concerted Actions in California and New York

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 23, 2017
SEIA USAIt will require concerted actions by the industry to keep solar heating and cooling on the agenda of politicians and administrators of incentive programmes in the United States. The Californian solar industry achieved a partial victory in mid-May, when the state assembly approved the extension of rebates for gas-replacing solar thermal systems under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) - Solar Thermal by 2.5 years, even though the industry had called for five. On the east coast, negotiations with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) are still underway for a follow-up of the statewide solar water heater rebate programme, which ended in December 2016. In a policy paper published this February, NYSERDA announced it would make USD 15 million available to incentivise ground-source heat pumps, whereas rebates for solar water heaters were not planned. 
Image: Solar Energy Industries Association
 

Global Status Report 2017: Key SHC Data on Markets and Policy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 22, 2017
GSR 2017 SHC ChapterREN21’s Renewables 2017 Global Status Report (GSR) shows how the 20 largest solar thermal markets in the world developed in 2016 (see the chart on the left). Significant growth was reported from Denmark (84 %), Mexico and India (6 % each). Except for the Danish market, last year was a challenging one for key European sales countries because of factors such as low oil and gas prices, declining demand from homeowners and reduced interest in solar thermal among installers. Consequently, there has been a notable decrease in market size in Poland (-58 %), France (-35 %), Austria (-19 %) and Germany (-8 %). The GSR 2017 was first presented at the beginning of June during the Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing. 
Chart: GSR 2017
 

Macedonia – Small Country, But Innovative Industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 19, 2017
Ilija NasovDuring the last days of May, it got rather heated in Skopje, Macedonia’s capital – politically and climate-wise. While the summer sun was providing all the warmth it could muster, the nation’s deputies gathered in the Macedonian parliament building to form a new government, bringing an end to a years-long and severe political crisis. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a small Balkan country with a strikingly viable solar thermal industry, has since been headed by Zoran Zaev, a member of the Social Democratic Union party. Assistant Professor Ilija Nasov (see photo) has high hopes for the new government. In 2012, when Nasov was dean of the Faculty of Ecological Resources Management at MIT University Skopje, he founded collector producer Camel Solar, located on the northern outskirts of Macedonia’s capital.
Photo: Frank Stier
 

Austria: Haier Now Holds 51 % Stake in Greenonetec

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 15, 2017
Greenonetec HaierThere has been another Sino-European cooperation on solar thermal in recent weeks. On 18 May, Chinese-based Haier Group, one of the largest manufacturers of household appliances in the world, bought a 51 % stake in Austrian collector manufacturer Greenonetec, based in St Veit in southern Austria, from its sole shareholder, Robert Kanduth. Both parties share 50:50 voting rights and Kanduth has remained as managing director of the world’s largest flat plate collector factory. The objective of the two shareholders is to establish licenced production of large-scale flat plate collectors in China and offer selected Haier products with the help of Greenonetec’s distribution network in Europe. The photo shows Helvig Kanduth, entrepreneur and member of the newly created advisory board, Robert Kanduth, Xingzai Han, Director of Haier’s Home Appliances Industry and Changyu Zhuang, Head of R&D at Haier Group and member of the same new board (from left).
Photo: Greenonetec
 

Spain: Andalusia Supports 38 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Measures

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 12, 2017
Andalusia SchemeThe Andalusian government has finally approved and enacted the Sustainable Construction programme to promote energy efficiency and solar thermal. So far, there have been EUR 164 million available for 38 renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, such as building insulation, lighting improvements, solar heat, photovoltaics and A/C retrofits (see red crosses in image on left). Applications have been accepted since 15 May 2017. Solar thermal systems are eligible for incentives of between 30 and 85 % of investment costs, depending on the application. The scheme, however, excludes compact, prebuilt residential solar water heaters mostly thermosiphon systems. They will only be subsidised when installed as part of social housing projects.
 

India: Honeywell Successfully Showcases Solar Cooling Project

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 9, 2017
HoneywellTypically, lighting and air conditioning account for more than half of overall electricity consumption in India’s industrial offices. As applications in industry have been hit with the highest tariff of all power consumers, it will need new solutions to reduce the electricity demand of conventional AC systems. To this end, Honeywell Technology Solutions based in Hyderabad in the southern state of Telangana has been operating a pilot project for solar thermal cooling since March 2013. The lithium-bromide chiller is connected to 128 parabolic trough collectors, each with a reflector area of 6.41 m², and provides air cooling at temperatures between 21 °C and 23 °C for six months a year. The collectors were delivered by the solar energy division of Indian manufacturer Thermax. 
Photo: Honeywell Technology Solutions
 

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