IEA Task 55: Solar District Heating Means Big Business

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 23, 2017
Task 55Solar district heating is attractive business. Not only does this become obvious when looking at the 347 MWth of newly installed SDH capacity in Denmark in 2016, but also when one hears about Big Solar, a 250 MWth collector field – with 1.8 million m² of seasonal storage – planned to cover 20 % of the energy demand in the Austrian city of Graz by 2020. It certainly explains the high interest in international research platform Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into DHC Networks, or Task 55 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. “We welcomed 33 participants from eight countries during our second project meeting in Aalborg in mid-March, and even had to limit the number of participants per company because of the huge demand,” explained Sabine Putz, Operating Agent of Task 55 and COO and Head of R&D at S.O.L.I.D.
Photo: AALBORG CSP
 

IEA SHC Task 54: Investigating Cost Factors Along the Value Chain

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 22, 2017
Task 54 RWTH AachenResearchers have worked intensively for one-and-a-half years across national borders to find ways of reducing the costs of solar thermal systems and making them more attractive to end users. The members of Task 54 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme, Price Reduction of Solar Thermal Systems, have discussed the effects of standardised product designs or changes in product offerings on cost structures. They have also analysed the entire value chain from component manufacture to system assembly and installation to help identify cost-cutting potential. This is the first time that methods of Process Cost Analysis are being adapted for the solar thermal business. “The share of overhead (e.g. marketing, sales, logistics, quality management and maintenance) has increased significantly, from 30 to 60 % of total product expenses over the last 50 years. This means we will have to investigate the relationship between technology, product portfolio and overhead,” explained Wolfgang Kramer, Head of the Solar Thermal Heating Systems Department at German-based Fraunhofer ISE. “To this end, the process cost analysis provides important quantitative information.” For example, the chart illustrates the issue of having a wider product portfolio and its impact on competitiveness and profitability. The model is currently being adapted for the solar industry in Task 54 as part of German research programme TEWIsol.
Chart: RWTH Aachen University
 

Turkey: Vacuum Tubes in Residential, Flat Plate in Commercial Segment

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 19, 2017
Turkey ApplicationTurkey’s solar thermal market remained strong in 2016. However, sales figures are hardly easy to come by, as there is a formal market, on which businesses offer well-known brands, and an informal one, on which systems are supplied by unregistered small producers. Solar Thermals: Turkey, the latest report on the Turkish market by British consultancy BSRIA has shown that the formal market remained fairly stable last year, with an estimated 1.53 million m² (1.1 GWth) compared to 1.5 million m² in 2015. Owners of residential one- and two-family buildings again accounted for the lion’s share of purchases, as 51 % of all new systems for hot water preparation and a small but growing number of space heating systems were sold to them last year (see the chart above). 
Source: BSRIA
 

IEA SHC: How to Turn Historic Structures into Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 17, 2017
Villa CastelliMore than one-fourth of all residential buildings in Europe date from before 1945. Over the past decade, preservationists have taken to the idea of renovating historic structures in an energy-efficient manner. The planned IEA SHC task titled Deep Renovation of Historic Buildings Towards Lowest Possible Energy Demand and CO2 Emission intends to find the best solutions to this challenge. The photo shows the Villa Castelli at Lake Como in Italy. The energy requirements of the building have been reduced and the remaining demand has been met by a heat pump and PV-generated electricity. 
Photo: Oscar Stuffer, Solarraum
 

IEA SHC: New Task to Push Emerging PVT Industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 15, 2017
Inventors and start-ups have been trying to combine photovoltaic and solar thermal collectors into one product for many years. Finally, a new industry seems to be emerging. The IEA SHC task Application of PVT collectors and new solutions with PVT systems, which is currently being defined, intends to become the go-to platform for the young technology. It is scheduled for approval by the IEA SHC executive committee in November 2017 and is planned to start in January 2018. The first Task Definition Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, in May attracted great interest from the industry.
 

India: Collector Market No Longer Depends on Subsidies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 4, 2017
Indien Market DevelopmentThe Indian solar thermal market is gradually becoming self-sustaining, as fiscal year 2016 showed renewed signs of growth after the suspension of the national grant scheme in 2014. Overall, the glazed collector market grew by 6 % to 1.28 million m² (894 MWth). Another 6,250 m² were installed for use in concentrating collector systems. This figure was not added to the glazed total, but is shown in the chart. The market numbers for 2016 were provided by Indian consultant Jaideep Malaviya, who based his analysis on the import statistics of vacuum tubes and a survey among the few flat plate collector manufacturers still in business in the country today.
(*) The bar for 2016 refers to numbers from the calendar year 2016, as the country’s Central Board of Excise and Customs has not yet published data for January–March 2017. All other bars in the graph refer to figures from the respective fiscal year, which in India runs between 1 April and 31 March the following year.
Source: Jaideep Malaviya
 

IEA SHC: Thirty Net Zero Energy Buildings in One Book

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 2, 2017
The joint SHC Task 40 / EBC Annex 52 project Towards Net Zero Energy Solar Buildings has been one of the largest of the Technology Collaboration Programmes IEA Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) / Energy in Buildings and Communities (EBC). As many as 86 experts from 19 countries collaborated in this project, which ran between October 2009 and October 2013. This April saw the publication of a book titled Solution Sets for Net Zero Energy Buildings, which presents 30 case studies of Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) from all around the globe. 
 

Netherlands: Solar Thermal Benefits from SDE+ Solar Heat Tariff

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 1, 2017
District Heating Workshop NetherlandsIn the Netherlands, solar district heating plants with a capacity of 140 kWth or above can benefit from a feed-in tariff scheme called SDE+, which pays a certain amount per kWh of energy. Under the scheme, operators of renewable energy plants can apply for a subsidy to bridge the gap between market price and cost of energy production. Consequently, interest was high when a workshop about solar district heating (SDH) took place in mid-April 2017. It attracted around 50 people from the district heating and the solar thermal industry, consulting businesses and the government. Organised jointly by Dutch district heating organisation Warmtenetwerk, Holland Solar and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO.nl, the workshop featured a presentation on SDH in Denmark – held by Jan Erik Nielsen from PlanEnergi and based on results from Task 45 and 55 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme – and provided information about the national subsidy scheme, thermal storage technologies as well as the only DH plant in operation in the Netherlands to date.
Photo: Netherlands Enterprise Agency 
 

Brazil: 2016 Market Statistics by Newly Founded Industry Association ABRASOL

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 30, 2017
Brazil Market Development 2016A recently introduced annual statistic by Brazil’s newly established industry association ABRASOL based in São Paulo shows that in 2016, the country was again the one with the third-largest number of new installations and the largest solar thermal market in South America. The 1,304,922 m² of newly installed glazed and unglazed water collector area (0.91 GWth) added in 2016 have put it only slightly ahead of India and behind China and Turkey. Brazil’s glazed collector market experienced a comparatively small drop of 4 % considering the country’s ongoing economic and political crisis and the slowdown of Minha Casa Minha Vida (My house, My Life), the programme which had made solar water heaters a requirement for new social housing projects. Reduced purchasing power led to a 10 % decline in the sales of unglazed collectors for swimming pools and vacuum tube collectors played only a minor role last year, garnering 2 % of sales.
Chart: ABRASOL
 

IRENA: Renewable District Heating and Cooling Roadmap to 2030

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 27, 2017
District Heating PotentialThe International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has published an industry roadmap for Renewable Energy in District Heating and Cooling (DHC) as part of its REmap 2030 project. This study analysed the current state of the DHC market in eleven countries – with a focus on district heating in seven and one on district cooling in the other four – and examined the long-term potential of the two technologies in these countries (see the attached PDF). The countries chosen for the study have distinctly different market environments. Two of them are Denmark and Switzerland, which have had the highest share of renewables in their energy supply (around 40 %); a third one is China, the largest market for DHC today, but one on which renewable energy has yet to play a role at all. The chart shows the key factors impacting the potential of renewable DHC. The aim of the renewable energy roadmap (REmap) programme is to show a path towards doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030.
Chart: IRENA
 

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