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Solar Cooling

Energy Directive Adopted by European Parliament

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 5, 2009

It's a great step forward acknowledging solar heating and cooling to be a key factor for climate protection: For the first time, heating and cooling is covered by an European Directive. The new Energy Directive was adopted with 634 votes in favour and only 25 against and 25 absent in the European Parliament at the 17th December 2008.

USA: Solar Heating and Vacuum Tube Collectors are catching up

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 27, 2008

The US-American domestic solar heating and cooling market grew by 31 % in 2007, after the rapid climb of 77 % in 2006. These are figures from the annual statistics of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which publishes the official energy statistics of the U.S. Government. In total 150,000 m2 of collector area was shipped last year (against 111,000 m2 in 2006). The EIA assumes that only 2 % of the total shipment was exported last year; the home market volume was thus 147,000 m2.

Solar Cooling System for Metro Cash & Carry in Italy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 17, 2008

solar cooling in ItalySolar cooling for a department store in Rome, Italy: The 3,000 m2 of collector area run a 700 kW chiller.

Photo: Metro Cash & Carry

Lisbon: Solar cooling system for office complex

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 14, 2008

CGB Bank in Lisbon with solar coolingSolar thermal installation on top of this huge banking complex in Lisbon: The Portuguese state bank Caixa Geral de Depositos (CGD) commissioned the Austrian engineering company S.O.L.I.D. to design the solar cooling plant.
Photo: S.O.L.I.D.

IEA Study "Solar Heat Worldwide": Global Market Growth of 22 % in 2006

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 18, 2008

2006 was an extremely satisfying year for the global solar thermal industry. According to the new study “Solar Heat Worldwide. Markets and contribution to the Energy Supply 2006” on behalf of IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme the new installations grew 22 % in 2006. The authors from the Austrian research institute AEE Intec surveyed 48 countries and added up the newly installed collector area to 18.3 GWth (26.1 million m2).

What are solar thermal systems made of?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

Flat plat collectors are made of metal, glass, insulating and joining materials. Typically copper, steel or aluminium is used for the absorber configuration. The sides and bottom of the collector are usually metal and insulated with mineral wool to minimize heat loss. The glass top is made of special glass to resist facture and maximise transmission of energy. In the future, a variety of materials and combinations of materials including plastics may be used to improve cost benefits ratios, higher temperature ranges and systems performance.

What can solar thermal technology be used for?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

There is a wide variety of applications for solar thermal technology. The most common application is the heating of pool water, the heating of domestic hot water and space heating. Not very wide spread yet are solar cooling systems, because of the complexity of the technology and the high initial investment costs.

What are the long-term future perspectives of the sector in Europe?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

The ambitious scenario of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) expects Europe will reach 0.7 kWth (1 m2 of collector area) per European in 2020, equivalent to a total capacity in operation in the EU by then of 320 GWth. To reach this target, a suitable support framework will be required and solar will then be widely used for both cooling and supplying process heat, though the majority of this capacity will still supply domestic hot water and space heating.

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