IEA SHC Task 54: Solar Thermal Cost Reductions

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 26, 2017
Linz workshop Task 54The objective of IEA SHC Task 54 is to reduce the purchase price of solar thermal systems by up to 40 % across the entire value chain. To achieve this, the project partners have been evaluating technical and non-technical cost-saving potential, with low-cost materials, such as polymers, and production technologies bound to play an important role. At an early October workshop in Linz, Austria, about 50 project partners and guests discussed cost reductions made possible by new distribution channels, digital solutions and systems thinking approaches. 
Photo: Fraunhofer ISE

Solar Is UK's Best District Heating Option

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 24, 2017
The UK government has clear and ambitious plans to raise the share of district heating (DH) in total heat consumption. GBP (Pound Sterling) 320 million is said to be made available for increasing the number of households connected to DH from 220,000 to 8 million by 2030, or to 30 % of today’s 27 million households in the country. These impressive figures are part of a report called Winning Hearts and Minds – Scenario-Driven Stakeholder Analysis on How to Make District Heating Successful in the UK, a combination of scenarios and online surveys developed jointly by German-based Communication Works and the Stockholm School of Economics on behalf of the UK’s Association for Decentralised Energy. The aim is to find suitable avenues for popularising DH among heat users in the country.

IEA Paper: How to Decarbonise the Industrial Sector

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 22, 2017
Cédric PhilibertThe industrial sector is the hardest to decarbonise. “Stakeholders are in fierce competition, so to adapt any source that is even slightly more expensive than the fossil fuels they are used to is difficult,” Cédric Philibert, Senior Analyst in the IEA Renewable Energy Division, said during the panel discussion The Road to 100% Renewable Energy at the joint SHC and SWC 2017 conference in Abu Dhabi in early November. He presented key findings from his most recent Insight Paper, Renewable Energy for Industry, which takes a closer look at cement manufacturing, iron- and steelmaking and chemical production (see the attached document). 
Photo: Masdar Institute at Khalifa University of Science and Technology

EU Funding for Solutions to Decarbonise Heating and Cooling Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 19, 2017
Horizon 2020A search for ‘solar thermal’ in a recently published 195-page document titled Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy will not return encouraging results (see the attached document). The publication by the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 shows only 6 entries in total. “Solar thermal is definitely not a priority of the new programme,” said Daniel Mugnier, Head of R&D at French engineering services company Tecsol. “And even if the European Solar Thermal Technology & Innovation Platform were to try to promote several hot topics, there’s only one call [LC-SC3-RES-7-2019 on solar process heat] dedicated to the technology.”

Switzerland: Current CO2 Tax Does Little to Help Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 16, 2017
Oil price chartThe solar thermal market in Switzerland has been shrinking for the past years because of increasing competition from photovoltaics and heat pumps. Additionally, the low oil price has led to a wait-and-see attitude among potential customers. The market continues to show no signs of an upturn despite the introduction of a CO2 tax on fossil fuels around 10 years ago. This tax, however, has done little to compensate for the one-third reduction in oil prices in 2015 and 2016. A more suitable alternative would be a levy linked to oil and gas prices.
Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office

Spain: Stakeholder Platform Solplat to Promote New Applications

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 14, 2017
SolplatOn 4 October 2017, the Spanish Ministry of Economy hosted the first general meeting of the newly created Technology Platform on Low Temperature Solar Thermal, Solplat. Funded by the ministry and promoted by Spain’s solar association ASIT, the umbrella platform was created to help companies, public authorities and universities support and improve segments which have seen fairly little market penetration to date. Examples are district heating, solar process heat and Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs).

Italy: Solar District Heating Shows Few Installations but Good Prospects

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 11, 2017
Ambiente ItaliaSubstantial solar resources and a generous incentive scheme called Conto Termico 2.0: Perfect conditions, it seems, for the widespread use of solar district heating. But barriers such as a low gas price and the concentration of district heating in a small part of Italy have so far limited deployment to a few installed systems. The map shows the three existing SDH plants in Varese, Sansicario and Lodi (red circles). A fourth with a gross area of about 600 m² is expected to come online in 2020 to feed heat into Turin’s district network operated by the Iren Group utility (yellow cirle).
Source: Ambiente Italia

USA: Concentrated Solar Thermal for Biosolid Drying

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 9, 2017
RackamSince the summer, two parabolic trough collectors have been drying sludge at a waste water treatment plant in Surprise in the state of Arizona, USA. The test project was developed by US-based Heat2Hydro to evaluate the effectiveness of this solution. The objective is to reduce the water content of the sludge and make it easier to transport. The municipality aims at expanding solar drying capacity to 5 MW thermal in about two years.
Photo: Heat2Hydro/Rackam

SHC 2017: Largest experts’ meeting on integrated solar heating and cooling

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 8, 2017
SHC2017_1500 experts from more than 50 countries attended the 5th International Conference on Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) in Abu Dhabi, UAE, from 30 October to 2 November 2017. It was the first time that this biennial conference by the IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme had been organised jointly with the Solar World Congress by the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). The new partnership resulted in 2017’s largest experts’ meeting on integrated SHC solutions for buildings, industry, cities, regions and utilities, and in over 300 presentations.
Photo: Masdar Institute at Khalifa University of Science and Technology

IEA´s Renewables Outlook 2017-2022

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 31, 2017
IEA Renewables 2017 forecastThe IEA’s Renewables 2017 market report was launched in London in early October. The document, which had been called Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report until last year, is published annually and forecasts market development in renewable electricity over the next five years (2017 to 2022). Considering that renewable markets are closely linked and politicians are increasingly looking for cross-sector solutions, we have compiled the IEA’s most important conclusions regarding renewable electricity in this news article. A lack of data on renewable heating and cooling (RHC) means that the IEA does not provide a separate RHC forecast, but instead uses the World Energy Model results published in the annual World Energy Outlook.
Source: Renewables 2017