Dubai’s solar thermal obligation has had a positive impact on demand for solar water heating systems across the emirate. Since March 2012, newbuilds with a single owner, such as hotels, workers’ dwellings, private villas, shopping malls and public buildings, have had to cover at least 75 % of their annual hot water requirements by solar energy, provided that enough roof space is available. Proprietors of swimming pools have had to install additional solar thermal systems with a capacity of 50 % or more of the total required for heating these pools (see the attached Dubai Municipality Circular No. 183 from 2011). “Consultancies, building owners and construction companies have since become increasingly aware of the opportunities of solar water heaters,” explained Jim Sebastian Parambil, Managing Director of Ecoval Trading, Dubai, UAE. His company, which specialises in heating and cooling solutions with solar thermal collectors and heat pumps, has been in the business for more than 14 years. The photo shows one of Ecoval’s 2014 systems, which consists of 200 Solahart BT collectors and was installed at the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach.
PVT Modules combine the generation of solar heat and solar electricity. For many years, products have entered and disappeared from the market without leaving much of a trace. German company PA-ID has installed around 8,000 2Power panels, at almost 500 project sites. The 2Power elements consist of standard PV laminates with a polymer heat exchanger at the back, enclosed by insulation. In July, a group toured to the so far largest installation with 121 kWth and 44 kWel in Unterliederbach, a suburb of the German city of Frankfurt.
Usually, the period between September and December is a popular time for holding conferences and fairs. This year is no different. Below, you will find a number of international events dedicated to solar heating and cooling in different corners of the globe. You can also go to the calendar of events for a more comprehensive list of what’s happening during the second half of 2016. Photo: Stephanie Banse
The key to the decarbonisation of the energy sector is new compact storage technology: It will require much R&D to develop market-ready products based on new storage designs with phase change and thermochemical materials (PCMs and TCMs). One strategy is to combine resources within international research programmes – to create platforms unhindered by national borders or scientific disciplines, such as the joint task Material and Component Development for Thermal Energy Storage planned within the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes. Its two future operating agents, Wim van Helden (left) from Austrian AEE INTEC for the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme and Andreas Hauer from the German Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research (ZAE Bayern) for the IEA Energy Conservation through Energy Storage (ECES) programme, invite all interested researchers to Vienna, Austria, to attend the second Task Definition Meeting on 15 and 16 September 2016.
On 28 July, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded grants to six research projects which aim to reduce the costs of concentrating solar collectors. The initiative is called COLLECTS, which is short for Concentrating Optics for Lower Levelized Energy Costs, and focuses on the most expensive component of a CSP plant: the collectors / the reflector. One of the beneficiaries of the COLLECTS budget of nearly USD 9 million is California-based, early-stage technology provider Sunvapor, which is planning to supply the industry with solar steam solutions more cost-effective than natural gas-based steam boilers. COLLECT is part of the DOE’s SunShot initiative started in 2011.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has published new regulations on all-glass evacuated solar collector tubes and related storage tanks of non-concentrating solar collector systems. Indian Standard (IS) 16542 : 2016 describes the storage tank’s specifications, IS 16543 : 2016 names the ones for tubes, and IS 16544 : 2016 covers the ones for complete systems. To obtain the three new standards, a company or individual will have to purchase them at BIS. Once the government notification has been published, all three will become mandatory and require that each tube or storage tank should carry the standard’s mark in addition to the manufacturer’s trademark and the batch number or date of manufacture. A transition period is to be set by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). The photo shows vacuum tube systems on the roof of a block of flats in Kolkata city in eastern India.
Despite being the most robust solar thermal market across North and South America in terms of growth (8 % YoY in 2015), Mexico is still struggling domestically to harmonise its quality standards for solar thermal heaters. The lack of understanding between local producers and equipment importers has been the main hurdle to legally binding and uniform rules. However, the process is ongoing and the market’s stakeholders expect a draft of the official NOM-027-ENER-2015 to be available for public consultation by the end of 2016.
On 13 July, Arcon-Sunmark, the Danish large-scale solar heating specialist, officially announced that as the chosen turnkey provider, it was beginning construction on the 156,694 m² solar district heating system (110 MWth) on behalf of the Danish city of Silkeborg and its district heating company Silkeborg Forsyning. The plant is scheduled for completion by the end of the year and will then be the largest solar district heating system worldwide.
German Vaillant has launched a project which has stirred controversy among installers: Online platform heizungonline.vaillant.de can be used by manufacturers to directly address those end customers who wish to shop online – and send them a “price indication” for a complete heating system. Recent discussions have revolved around the question of whether this is a help to installation companies or if it interferes with their entrepreneurial freedom.
The SoPro India project has scientifically monitored two solar water heating systems for a year with the aim of presenting reliable data on system performance (see the attached PDFs). The measured 20 % solar efficiency would put the ROI between 2 and 3 years, depending on the development of fossil fuel costs. The researchers from German institute Fraunhofer ISE see new systems offering “good opportunities for further technical improvement.” SoPro was implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in cooperation with the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).