“Contract market fluctuates from year to year”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 17, 2018
Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark2017 was a difficult year for solar district heating supplier Arcon-Sunmark based in Denmark. The collector manufacturer’s turnover dropped from Danish Krone (DKK) 457 million, or USD 75 million, to DKK 98 million, or USD 16.2 million, according to a press release published on 21 March 2018. The uncertain country’s energy policy caused a delay in the launch of new SDH projects in the second half of 2016. Consequently, pre-tax profit went from DKK 46 million (USD 7.6 million) in 2016 to minus DKK 99 million (USD 16.3 million) in 2017. “We have made the necessary adjustments. At the same time, we have invested in retaining the clear market leader position that we achieved over the years,” Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark (see photo), said.

Sweden: Pioneer of solar district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 13, 2018
Chart: Sven WernerWhen it comes to district heating, Sweden has made the switch from fossil fuels to biomass and waste heat (see chart). As early as 2015, biomass provided 46 % of the energy in district heating networks across the country, followed by 24 % from waste incineration and 8 % from industrial excess heat. Fossil fuels came only to about 7 % of the around 175 petajoules, or PJ, produced in Sweden in 2015 (latest data available). These percentages, and the chart, were taken from a 2017 paper titled District heating and cooling in Sweden, written by Sven Werner, Professor Emeritus at the Swedish Halmstad University. Sweden is one of the participating countries of Task 55 Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into DHC Networks of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling programme. The researchers plan to publish a report with country portraits of selected solar district heating markets in 2019. 
Chart: Sven Werner

Second winter for 75,000 m² SDH heating system in Inner Mongolia

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 11, 2018
Photo: Sohu.comSince October 2016, a 75,000 m² parabolic trough collector field for district heat seems to have been operating in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in China. Ruicheng Zheng from the China Academy of Building Research and Hongzhi Cheng said that they had heard about the system, but that all the information on it was only available online. On 28 December 2017, a news article appeared on sohu.com, one of China’s largest online media companies, stating that the system supplied a shopping centre and a development project known as ZhongCheng International City in the village of HongQing De, near Baotou. The journalist who interviewed the owners of the residential buildings and the shopping centre found customers satisfied with the solar space heating that the system provides. 
Photo: Sohu.com

First cooling installation on Indian government building

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 10, 2018
Photo: VSM SolarGujarat State Electricity Corporation set up a solar thermal air conditioning system as part of its clean energy initiative last August. The installation offers a capacity of 150 tons of refrigeration (528 kW) to cool the Gandhinagar Thermal Power Station’s office building in Gujarat state in western India. The total investment, including the collector field, mounting equipment, chiller and hot water storage tanks, amounted to Indian Rupee (INR) 52 million, or around EUR 0.7 million, which corresponds to specific costs of 1,327 EUR/kW. 
Photo: VSM Solar

IEA SHC Webinar: Cost reduction potential above 30 %

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 5, 2018
Chart: AventaThe key takeaway from an IEA SHC Solar Academy webinar held on 14 March 2018: There is still much room for cost cuts along the entire solar thermal value chain. The webinar was organised jointly by the IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme’s Task 54 and the International Solar Energy Society.
Chart: Aventa

Big Solar Germany: Utility-scale solar heat at record-low 36 EUR/MWh

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 3, 2018
Christian HolterOperators of several gas-driven combined cycle power plants, or CCPPs, have notified the German Federal Network Agency of their systems’ final shutdown. These plants are no longer economically viable, as they have been running ever fewer hours because of a high proportion of cost-effective renewable grid electricity. Their shutdown will create a shortage of supply in district heating networks providing thermal energy to German municipalities. Utility-scale solar thermal plants equipped with seasonal storage could help close the gap at heat prices of around 36 EUR/MWh, Christian Holter said. Holter is the Managing Director of Austrian turnkey system supplier S.O.L.I.D., which has carried out feasibility studies on behalf of several European cities.

Tibet´s highly subsidised solar heating market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 2, 2018
Tibet is currently in the focus of the Chinese central government’s efforts to improve the heating situation of the population. The lack of space heating in many buildings in the region, which is subject to a continental climate marked by cold winters, has prompted China’s government to support the installation of solar district heating systems. In addition to Chinese-Danish joint venture Arcon-Sunmark Large-Scale Solar Systems Integration, Chinese parabolic trough collector manufacturer Vicot Solar Technology has signed a contract with the local government to install a solar district heating system in the autonomous region of Tibet. The photo, taken in November 2017, shows one-third of the field’s substructure. The entire installation will have 18,000 m2 of aperture area which is defined as the flat, rectangular area specified by the outer perimeter of the mirrors.
Photo: Vicot Solar Technology
 

Heat pump makes use of low-temperature solar energy for space heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 29, 2018
Markus BeslmeislWith round about four decades in business, the German-Slovak Thermosolar Group is one of the oldest solar thermal manufacturers in Europe. It began producing collectors in 1972 in Slovakia and started offering a special evacuated flat plate collector in 1997. Last November, long-time sales manager Markus Beslmeisl (see photo) acquired the remaining shares in the company from Johann Kollmannsberger. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with the new managing director about Thermosolar’s special solar heat pump system, called Duo Premium.
Photo: Thermosolar

“Need to include solar in architectural education”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 28, 2018
Sylvio PodestaBrazil ranks fourth on the list of the world’s largest solar thermal markets, but very few installations have been integrated into a facade or roof. Sylvio de Podestá is the architect behind one of the buildings that have roof-integrated collectors. At this hotel in Belo Horizonte, also known as Brazil’s solar capital, the collectors are at a slope guaranteed to maximise efficiency (see image). Usually, solar systems are added during construction, long after the design stage.
Image: Sylvio de Podestá

NPV, IRR and DDP: The language of bankers and investors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 27, 2018
Chart: Patrick ReiterIndustry professionals often do not use the same language as bankers and investors when they present solar thermal projects. We have asked Patrick Reiter, who has just finished his master’s thesis, titled Solar District Heating – Economic feasibility of large-scale solar thermal systems in municipal district heating networks – a case from Austria, to explain the most important words and key performance indicators, or KPIs, for the financial feasibility assessment of large-scale solar thermal plants. He studied for his master’s degree at the University of Graz’s Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research. 
Chart: Patrick Reiter

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