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Italy: First Solar District Heating System, 990 m² big

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 1, 2015
VareseFinally, solar district heating has reached Italy too: Utility Varese Risorse, which is part of the environmental multi-utility group A2A, brought its solar thermal plant into operation on 19 May. The idea for this project, which also came about thanks to support from Intelligent Energy Europe project SDHplus, was from 2013 when the utility began to show interest in using solar to lower the natural gas consumption of its district heating grid in summer. Staff members of Varese Risorse took part in the SDHplus training course and benefitted from initial feasibility calculations for the solar plant. The collector field of 990 m² has been set up across eight collector rows, seven of which were mounted onto the ground, and one onto the roof of a small technical building, which also houses the heat exchanger and the control unit (see photo). 
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

Spain: Study Demonstrates Technical and Economic Viability of Barcelona’s Solar District Heating Grid

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 5, 2015
IDAE studyThe Spanish Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE) has finalised its study on the technical and economic viability of incorporating solar thermal technology into urban district heating and cooling networks. The case study was carried out in Barcelona and concludes that solar thermal is a feasible alternative not only technically but economically as well. Until today, there has only been one district heating plant in operation which integrates solar thermal technology. It is called ParcBit and located at the Technological Innovation Park Balear on Mallorca. According to representatives from IDAE, the new study aims at encouraging further investments in solar district heating in Spain. 
Source: IDAE
 

Germany: Solar-Heated Gas Pressure Regulating System with 7 % Benefit

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 30, 2014
EnertractingEnertracting, located in Kassel, Germany, offers solar heat as an Energy Service Company (ESCO). Its first flagship project has been a gas pressure regulating system, for which the company presented some financial and operational data at a workshop organised by the Thuringian Ministry of Economy, Employment and Technology in Erfurt in June 2014. The project, which is located in the town of Großseelheim in central Germany, has a fixed 15-year heat price of 55 EUR/MWh, which allows for a 7 % benefit for the investor (in this case, Enertracting) and a payback period of seven years. The key factors: a required temperature of between 20 and 40 °C, as well as a 30 % subsidy by the German KfW banking group.
Photo: Enertracting
 

Germany: Excel-Based IRR Commercial Project Calculations

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 25, 2014
IRR cash flow diagrammeGerman Fresnel collector manufacturer Industrial Solar is experiencing an increasing demand from clients all around the world: “Five years ago, we received two requests per month. Now, we receive around 50 each month and the requests are more serious,” Tobias Schwind, who is one of the Managing Directors of the company founded in 2009, confirms. Schwind has begun to notice a shift in the industry: “Whereas payback times of three to four years have, so far, been commonplace, the industry is steering towards five- to six-year periods,” he says and adds: “We, however, try to explain to our clients that they are investing in their infrastructure, and payback time is therefore not really the best criterion.” Industrial Solar offers potential clients a calculation of the Net Present Value (NPV) and the Internal Rate of Return (IRR). According to the managing director, an economic analysis based on these parameters often shows that solar process heat is worth further consideration.
 

Austria: Solar Process Heat Cheaper than Oil Boiler

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 31, 2014
Berger The solar process heat plant at Fleischwaren Berger in Sieghartskirchen, Austria, went into operation in July 2013. With its 1,067 m² of high-temperature flat plate collectors, it pre-heats water for steam and hot water production. According to calculations by Austrian company SOLID, which was responsible for the planning and the turnkey installation, the solar plant can deliver usable heat at lower costs than the existing oil boiler over a 25-year period and with a favourable interest rate. 
Photo: Green Foods
 

Sweden: High Internal Rates of Return Attract Investors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 28, 2014
Absolicon CalculatorSwedish company Absolicon Solar Concentrator has developed a Solar Energy Calculator to enable commercial clients to determine the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) when purchasing and operating solar thermal systems with collector areas of between 500 and 5,000 m². “We were influenced by the PV sector, where customers are much more used to assessing solar investments based on the cash flow over the economic life of the system than based on the payback period,” CEO Joakim Byström explains. Byström founded Absolicon, a producer of concentrating process heat collectors. According to Byström’s experiences, many projects with long payback periods fare much better if you calculate the IRR. The Solar Energy Calculator, which is available online on the company´s website, has already been used by 70 potential clients from all around the world over the last 10 months.
 

India: ESCO Concept for Wheel Producer

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 29, 2014
Wheels IndiaWheels India, one of the world’s largest wheel manufacturers for commercial vehicles, is profiting from one of the few ESCO projects in India. The Energy Service Company (ESCO) Aspiration Energy has been delivering heat from a 1,365 m² vacuum collector field for almost two years now. The solar-heated water at 75 °C is used to degrease the wheels prior to final painting, a process which had been supplied by oil boilers before causing high energy costs. According to Aspiration Energy, the solar field saved as much as Indian Rupee (INR) 7 million in fuel oil over the first 18 months in operation. The promising results have convinced the wheel producer to plan the installation of additional solar water heating systems in factories across the country, from Haryana state to Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. 
Photo: Aspiration Energy
 

Germany/Denmark: Solar District Heating Prices between 37 and 88 EUR/MWh

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 24, 2014
Solites CalculationThe calculation of solar heat prices very much depends on the frame conditions. The chart on the left shows heat prices for a solar district heating system, with costs differing between 37 and 88 EUR/MWh. The best-case scenario - with a 3 % low-interest loan and a 40 % investment subsidy – allows a heat price of 37 EUR/MWh, whereas the worst case without a subsidy and with an 8 % interest rate forces the heat price to levels as high as 88 EUR/MWh. The calculation, which uses the newly developed online tool by German research institute Solites, is based on a 3,000 m² collector field and a 600 m³ storage tank. The tank feeds directly into a district heating network, which covers 9 % of the annual heat demand.
Source: Solites
 

India: Solar System Benefits Garment Factory

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 19, 2013
A concentrating solar thermal system has been operating successfully at Purple Creations, a children‘s clothing factory at the Baramati Hi-Tech Textile Park in Maharashtra state in western India. The 30 dish concentrators with an absorber area of 480 m² provide the steam required to iron the garments after stitching. The total investment in the plant, which was set up in June 2013 by Thermax India, one of the country’s leading manufacturers of absorption chillers, was close to EUR 50,000.
Photo: Jaideep Malaviya

India: Best Practise Applications for Hotels

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 16, 2010

 JP Siddhartha Hotel” Profiting from cost-effective solar thermal technology: The JP Siddhartha Hotel in the city of Gurgaon, Haryana, runs a 56 m2 collector system supplying solar energy for the domestic hot water demand of the hotel. The investment of INR 490,000 will pay off in less than 2 years.

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