Good news for the Portuguese market: This year’s agenda includes two new schemes to support energy efficiency measures in buildings, and solar thermal has been put into the spotlight. The first programme, Aviso 20 – Edifícios Eficientes 2016 (Efficient Buildings), has already been open to applications since 8 July 2016. Its budget of EUR 1.1 million covers up to 60 % of the cost of efficiency measures, including new solar water heater installations, in existing residential and commercial buildings. The second programme, Casa Eficiente (Efficient Home), is still under development, but the scheme’s much larger budget of EUR 100 million will offer low-interest loans for efficiency measures in the residential sector. Obviously, both programmes are not exclusively solar thermal ones; they also support window replacement or additional insulation.
After Lancaster, Sebastopol and Santa Monica, San Francisco is now the fourth – and the largest – US American city to mandate the use of solar energy in residential and commercial newbuilds. It also has the first mandate in California which can be complied with by using either solar thermal or photovoltaics. The other three cities stipulated the installation of a PV generator at newly developed premises. The mandate in San Francisco aims at owners of new residential and non-residential buildings who apply for a building permit on or after 1 January 2017. The photo shows the typical multi-storey building structure and density of San Francisco.
Slovakia is the first country from Eastern Europe to join the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC). Since its admission, the small nation of only 5.5 million people has been represented by Artur Bobovnický (photo) from the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA). Bobovnický, who had previously held the job of Commercial Director at Slovakian SEVT, an office supplies business, took on the position of Director of Innovation and International Cooperation at SIEA in June 2014. Shortly thereafter, he was made aware of the great potential of the IEA‘s Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) and successfully convinced the Slovakian government to sponsor membership.
Russian airport operator Basel Aero, which is part of Russian financial conglomerate Basic Elements, is planning additional installations of solar collectors at airports managed by the company in Anapa, Gelendzhik and Krasnodar near the Black Sea, according to a March 2016 press release. The enterprise has devoted special attention to environmental issues: It had already had a solar collector system installed on the roof of the Sochi airport in 2014, before the start of the Olympic Winter Games. The new terminal in Anapa will also be built using energy-saving technologies and eco-friendly materials.
Typically, the number of jobs in the global solar heating and cooling industry is based on general assumptions and fragmentary extrapolations. The authors who publish the two annual studies on these job numbers have tried each year to improve upon the database – with success, although they still end up with different figures. The Solar Heat Worldwide Edition 2016 published by Austrian institute AEE INTEC estimated that 730,000 people had a job related to the manufacturing, installation or maintenance of solar thermal systems in 2014. The study Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2016 by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) put the figure at 939,000 in the global solar heating and cooling industry in 2015 – 12 % of the world’s 8.1 million jobs in the renewable sector (find both studies attached).
Solar heating and cooling has not been bankable yet despite various systems confirming expected performance and O&M costs. Project budgets are usually too small and the technology suppliers do not pass the stringent requirements of creditworthiness, which leaves the financial provider with a high-risk scenario. Accordingly, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) have faced severe financing issues, which slow down the expansion of their business. It is good news to them that two recently launched projects also focus on facilitating the creation of an investment fund for solar thermal ESCO projects: First, there is the Feasibility Study - Energy Contracting Fund, which is jointly coordinated by the German Investment and Development Corporation Bank (DEG) and German SHC turnkey provider Industrial Solar; the second project, TrustEE – enhancing investment conditions for industrial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, is from the EU and has been coordinatedby Austrian institute AEE INTEC.
Solar district heating has enjoyed increasing attention from all across Europe and China, triggered by Denmark’s enormous growth rates in the field. Until the end of last year, the Scandinavian country had seen 577 MW of solar thermal power fed into 79 district heating networks mostly run by municipalities. There are another 364 MWth in the pipeline, scheduled for the beginning of this year. To identify the countries with the largest potential for solar district heating, it is worth taking a closer look at the country-by-country statistics of the biennial Euroheat & Power publication, whose most current version is from March 2015 and includes the key market indicators. Euroheat & Power, the association for district heating and cooling, is headquartered in Brussels and has 11 full-time staff.
It’s a delight to gaze at the glittering solar panels on virtually every roof in the Ladakh region in the northern Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir. The Himalayan territory enjoys more than 320 clear, sunny days each year and has undoubtedly become India’s leader in solar energy, as 40 % of its population is now using solar water heaters in their homes, up from almost zero per cent back in 2011. The region owes its success largely to the tireless work of the Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA), which was the only renewable energy agency among the 102 institutions and companies presented with an award by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy during an April 2016 ceremony. The photo shows energy minister Piyush Goyal (right) presenting the award to Jigmet Takpa, Director of the LREDA.
Reduced real estate investment has been the key reason for the strong decline of China’s solar thermal market. In 2015, the collector area installed annually was down to 43.5 million m² (30.5 GWth), which almost put the figure back to the level of 2009, and the growth rates in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 were -18 % and -17 % respectively. The chart on annual output was taken from a presentation by He Tao, Professor at the China Academy of Building Research. He held it during the Executive Committee Meeting of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme in Spain at the beginning of June. When presenting the numbers, the professor also emphasised that the industry “has made great efforts to find new applications for space heating, solar process heat and space cooling” (see the attached presentation).
How much will the transformation of the German energy industry cost if it is to reach greenhouse gas emissions reductions of at least 80 % by 2050? The German Institute Fraunhofer ISE used its Renewable Energy Model REMod-D for Germany 2050 to perform the simulations necessary to answer this key question. REMod-D considers all kinds of energy end-use applications (in manufacturing, transport and residential segments) and each and every energy technology. Simulations are performed on an hourly basis to ensure the security of supply in all industries throughout the year. The studied scenarios differ with regard to drive concepts used in the private and commercial transport industry, the extent of energy retrofits in the building industry and the exact time at which coal will no longer be used to generate electricity. The most recent REMod-D study, which was published in November 2015, was called “What Will the Energy Transformation Cost? Pathways for Transforming the German Energy System by 2050” (see attached document in German). Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Sebastian Herkel from Fraunhofer ISE about the study’s solar thermal outcomes and the use of REMod-D in urban planning scenarios of Task 52 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme.