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multi-family buildings

Concrete slabs store thermal energy and heat homes

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 14, 2018
underfloor heating systemMany building owners consider roof-integrated solar systems to be a tried-and-true way of saving as much on their heating bills as they can. A research project called solSPONGEhigh and developed in Austria has shown: When using thermal mass, i.e., the capacity of a building to store heat in ceilings, walls and foundations, solar technology can meet more than half of the yearly demand for space heating and hot water – large storage tanks not required. During construction of the house, meander-shaped piping, like the one in an underfloor heating system, is installed near the steel beams inside concrete slabs (see image). 
Photo: Private

California Solar Initiative dominated by multi-family houses

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 25, 2018
Source: California Public Utilities CommissionIn 2017, the California Solar Initiative (CSI) – Thermal Program supported the installation of 20,000 m² of collector area, a 20 % increase over the prior year. With 10,832 m², or four times the area installed in 2016, multi-family buildings dominated the subsidy landscape for those 12 months. The surge was a result of a temporary increase in the incentive amount, from USD 29.85 per therm displaced to USD 70, granted across the service area of Southern California Gas Company. The chart, for which data has been supplied by the California Public Utilities Commission, shows the collector area subsidised and installed from 2010 to 2017.
Source: California Public Utilities Commission

French SOCOL network analyses market drivers and barriers

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 10, 2018
EnerplanThe SOCOL network has become more involved than ever in shaping the future of the French solar thermal sector, having grown quickly from just 155 experts in 2013 to 2,500 today. Great efforts are being made to improve the image of solar thermal as a cost-effective, reliable technology for commercial applications. Despite the favourable environment, the French market has experienced a notable decline over recent years. Preliminary data from 2017 shows the newly installed collector to have been as little as 50,000 m², a decrease of 15 % compared to the year prior. Only multi-family properties and large-scale systems seem to be bucking the trend. 
Source: Uniclima
 

Sun provides 70 % of hot water in blocks of flats

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 13, 2017
Construtora AlttiMore than 3,500 solar water heating systems have been in operation at blocks of flats across Brazil’s ‘solar city’ Belo Horizonte. This figure, an estimate by organisations which were previously part of a business cluster called BH Solar, affirms the city’s exceptional status in Brazil and around the world. Most of the solar systems have been installed on the roofs of high-rise buildings intended for the middle class and the wealthy. The photo shows two such structures. One flat has 4 bedrooms and extends over an entire floor, measuring 280 m². To provide the security that owners were looking for, recreational facilities, such as a swimming pool and a tennis court, have been set up inside the walls put up around the complex. 
Photos: Construtora Altti
 

Switzerland: Strong Heat Pump and PV Competition

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 3, 2017
Switzerland market statisticsThere couldn’t be a starker contrast between the market development of two renewable heat segments: Whereas Swiss heat pump sales remained at around 18,400 units per year from 2014 to 2016, collector sales dropped significantly from 117,634 m² in 2014 to 66,699 m² last year. Market volume is now below where it was ten years ago and solar water heaters are facing strong competition from heat pumps and photovoltaics (see attached market report in German and French). The annual solar thermal symposium on 8 November in Dübendorf near Zurich will provide an opportunity to discuss alternative applications and technologies.
Source: Swissolar
 

Bulgaria: Third Phase of Residential Energy Efficiency Credit Line Launched

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 20, 2016
Bulgaria multi-family blocksAlthough Bulgaria is a country with many green or mountainous areas, it has had to grapple with severe air pollution caused not only by old cars, but also by wood-fuelled heating systems, which are popular across the country. The European Environment Agency has recently rated the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, as the most polluted one in Europe. Last year, the conservative government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov stepped up to the plate and announced the National Programme for Energy Efficiency of Multi-Family Residential Buildings (NPEE). Its aim is to provide billions of euros for making several thousand residential buildings energy efficient until the end of 2018 – with no charges to flat owners. The photo shows three blocks of flats awaiting modernisation. 
Photo: Frank Stier
 

Israel: Winter Hail Storm Boosts Replacement Rate

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 31, 2016
ElsolLast year, the Israeli market saw a significant increase in newly installed glazed collector area, showing a total of 428,750 m² or a 9 % increase compared to the previous year. Eli Shilton, Managing Director of Israeli solar thermal system supplier Elsol, believes that a hail storm last winter was responsible for the greater demand for system replacement. “Since local collectors have standard glass covers, the hail storm broke a lot of the glass,” Shilton explained and added: “People are not worried about it, as the systems were covered by insurance and most owners will be reimbursed for all of the damage caused.” Thirty years of experience have made Eli Shilton a well-recognised expert in the Israeli solar thermal industry. The photos show centralised solar thermal systems on new multi-family buildings in Israel.
Photos: Elsol
 

France: Industry Does Not Yet Surrender

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 3, 2015
Workshop Nantes 2015The one-day workshop of the French solar sector to discuss the General State of Solar Heat in 2015 (États Généraux de la Chaleur Solaire 2015) took place in Nantes on 20 October with around 130 participants. The market is still decreasing, but the industry is closing its ranks to get out of the difficult situation. Multi-family housing and large-scale solar fields could give solar a second chance – that's at least what the French solar sector has been betting on. The workshop was organised by Enerplan, the Union of Professionals in Solar Energy, and supported by the French energy agency Ademe, as well as French gas supplier GrDF, a subsidiary of French utility Engie, formerly GDF Suez. 
Photo: Enerplan
 

Switzerland: Shift towards Multi-Family Housing Projects

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 21, 2015
Market development SwitzerlandIn June, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy published its annual solar market report carried out by the solar energy association Swissolar (see the attached document in German and French). In 2014, sales of glazed collectors dropped by 7 %, down to 113,000 m² of absorber area. Vacuum tube collectors had a share of 13 %. The statistics also include 4,487 m² of unglazed collectors. The chart shows the shares of the different collector technologies over the years.
Source: Swissolar
 

Germany: Solar Heat Costs Less than Oil and Gas in Multi-Family Buildings

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 11, 2015
Solar thermal is economically viable in Germany in multi-family buildings – that is the clear message of the Excel-based tool which German solar thermal system supplier Remeha, a brand of the BDR Thermea Group, uses to calculate solar water heater performance at multi-family dwellings. The Excel tool was created for installers and planners to support their offers of solar hot water or space heating for blocks of flats. The tool calculates a kWh price, as well as the investment’s Internal Rate of Return. The solar heat produces the most cost-effective kWh with 43.3 EUR/MWh, assuming a 20-year lifetime. During this period, earnings are double as high as investment costs.
 

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