The 4th International Solar District Heating (SDH) Conference, which had been organised under the auspices of Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…from Policy to Market on 21/22 September 2016 in Denmark, showed the importance of analysing real-life monitoring data from European SDH plants, with one conference session (Advanced SDH systems II) dedicated exclusively to the topic. These kinds of comparisons enable an understanding of the actual performance of such large collector fields and offer an opportunity for optimising power output and for creating best-practice examples of new plants. For example, the chart displays ten years’ worth of monitoring data from the German plant in Crailsheim, which has met solar yield expectations.
Source: Attached SDH conference presentation from ITW
LED technology has greatly changed the face of the lighting market: In just a few years, lighting systems have become twice as efficient and half as expensive. These changes have resulted in a large but often untapped cost- and energy-saving potential in commercial buildings. The research in Task 50 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling programme, Advanced Lighting Solutions for Retrofitting Buildings, has shown that the lighting industry is increasingly exploring opportunities for the use of contracting instead of leasing solutions to convince customers of retrofits. According to Marc Fontoynont, Professor at the Department of Energy Performance at Aalborg University, Denmark, and subtask leader of Market and Policies, there is a growing number of specialised companies which offer contracting models for lighting solutions, such as Austrian manufacturer Zumtobel has done with its contracting plan Now! (see chart). All in all, these contracting solutions are less complex than the ones for heat.
Merging three individual conferences into the International Conference on Solar Technologies & Hybrid Mini Grids to Improve Energy Access was rewarded with a satisfying number of attendees visiting the latter. According to the organisers, 185 experts from 38 countries from all corners of the globe met in the small town of Bad Hersfeld near Frankfurt, Germany, in mid-September 2016 to talk about all the technology and market requirements for increasing solar deployment in developing countries. The conference schedule was, of course, fairly focused on photovoltaics, but Southern Africa was well represented, as experts from the partner countries of SOLTRAIN (Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative) presented their work during the event (see photo).
While the solar thermal industry has had a difficult time in several EU countries, the solar district heating (SDH) community is still growing: 180 participants from the EU, South Korea and China attended the 4th International Solar District Heating Conference, which was held at quite the peculiar location this year – Denmark’s Legoland – and was organised under the auspices of the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…from Policy to Market. The introductory session of the conference was really inspiring. Thomas Pauschinger, Project Coordinator of SDHp2m, underlined how Denmark’s construction of plants in the 100 MW range was proof of the country’s solar thermal strategy of “think big”. Impressive results, even more so if one takes the statement by Kim Behnke, Deputy Director General of Dansk Fjernvarme, the Danish District Heating Association, into account that “the Danish solar dream started just ten years ago”. Denmark’s solar installations have become so famous that they have even been turned into brick models at Legoland. The photo shows the 13 MW solar field in Braedstrup, Denmark.
Friday, 23 September 2016, was the inauguration date for the now largest solar thermal collector field in Germany. Since August, 8,300 m² of vacuum tube collectors (5.8 MWth) set up in the town of Senftenberg, 140 km south of Berlin, have been feeding energy into the municipality’s district heating network. The previously largest field since 2005 – a 7,100 m² flat plate collector installation (5.1 MWth) – is located in the southern German town of Crailsheim. The new Senftenberg solar field was designed, manufactured and implemented by German system integrator Ritter XL Solar. The 1,680 collectors, the heat transfer unit and around 6,600 m of pipework were installed within record time: All in all, the project took only six months. The general contractor for the EUR 4.5 million investment was Berlin-based E&G Energiebau, which had received support from the Integral Project, the company responsible for sizing and integrating the solar heat into the existing network.
Turkey dominated the headlines of daily news channels this summer, especially after the tumultuous coup attempt between 15 and 16 July and the purges that followed. But even before, at the end of June, news from Turkey had taken the solar thermal industry by surprise: Ezinç Metal had stopped producing at short notice. Without any prior announcement, management had laid off almost all workers and had closed down the collector and system production within just a few days in June, former employees reported.
District heating has a long history in Scandinavia: The international symposium on district heating was launched there in 1987. In the meantime, the technology has reached the global stage and the 15th International Symposium on District Heating and Cooling was the first one supported by the IEA District Heating and Cooling programme (IEA DHC). Dr Ralf Roman Schmidt had been invited to speak at this two-day conference held in South Korea in September and attended by more than 200 people. The research engineer from the AIT, Austrian Institute of Technology, is about to become Austria’s alternate country representative within the IEA DHC.
Approved and successful policies should be promoted – which is why the Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN) should be implemented in West Africa as well. Since 2009, the programme has helped train about 2,150 people during 80 courses and install 187 solar thermal systems in the five partner countries Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The coordinator, Austrian organisation AEE INTEC, and the implementing body, ECREEE – ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency based in Cabo Verde, have now launched a similar four-year training and demonstration programme, SOLtrain West Africa, to increase SWH numbers in five additional countries: Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.
The Indian government should provide the same assertive publicity for solar thermal technology as it had for solar PV because the population still needed to be made aware of the benefits of solar water heating. This was the major concern raised during the panel discussion Policy and Regulatory Framework for Solar Water Heater Market Development in India moderated by Jaideep Malaviya (third from right), Secretary General of the Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI). Five industry representatives took part in the event held during the Renewable Energy India Exhibition and Conference 2016 near New Delhi at the beginning of September (from left to right): Rigal Patel (Redsun Solar), Bhoovarahan Thirumalai (Aspiration Energy), Devinder Kaushal (Inter Solar Systems), Saurabh Bhandari (Solarmaxx) and Chandrakant Shah (Kosol Hiramrut Energies).
Renovating multi-storey buildings can be used to create new living space with an additional top floor. That’s where an Austrian consortium led by AEE INTEC comes in: It has developed the Roofbox, an entirely prefabricated modular living space. A Roofbox consists of a bathroom, a kitchen, a separate toilet or living room and bedrooms, and it can be ordered with an active solar water heater system already installed on its roof. Every Roofbox can be transported by an articulated lorry and is rigid enough to be lifted by crane for roof mounting. On 16 September, Austrian Haas Fertigbau showcased in its Großwilfersdorf factory a flat made up of two Roofbox prototypes – which, however, is still missing the solar thermal unit on top (see photo).