It is an ideal location for solar cooling use: Scottsdale, a US city in the Greater Phoenix area in Arizona enjoys an average of 312 days of sunshine every year. Between May and September, temperatures rise above 38°C and can even reach 46°C on a hot day. This is where in July 2011, Austrian company S.O.L.I.D has started to plan a solar cooling system for Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School (DMHS) of 2,600 students. Three years later, the 3.4 MWth (4,865 m² of collector area) system went into operation and is now supplying heat to a single-effect lithium bromide absorption chiller with a cooling capacity of 1,750 kW. The solar cooling installation at the DMHS is currently the largest of its kind in the world, having surpassed the 2.7 MWth solar thermal capacity (3,900 m²) of another S.O.L.I.D system at the United World College(UWC) in Singapore.
Since June 2014, a Fresnel collector field with 242 kWth has been feeding into the district cooling system of the MTN Group at its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. MTN, which has more than 200 million customers, as well as subsidiaries in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East, is one of the leading mobile operators in South Africa – and it is aware of the impact of global warming. “We continuously explore ways in which we can lessen the impact of our operations on the environment. This initiative will not only reduce our carbon footprint but it will substantially reduce our electricity consumption, which will release additional capacity for the national grid,” MTN’s CEO, Zunaid Bulbulia, was quoted as saying in a press release from 17 July 2014. The concentrating solar thermal plant powers the double-effect absorption chiller whose cooling capacity of 330 kW keeps temperatures low in the data centre at MTN’s head office.
SunOyster Systems (SOS) based in Halstenbek, a town near Hamburg, Germany, has developed a new technology for the combined generation of solar heat and electricity (PVT). The first six SunOyster units are currently on their way to the Chinese town of Shuouzhou, 400 km west of Beijing. Yonghao Gangue Power Plant bought the system to feed electricity into its grid, as well as to supply heat to its district heating network. The network provides both space heating for an industrial area in winter and heat for a 10 kW adsorption chiller in summer. The photo shows company founder Carsten Corino next to the SunOyster demonstration unit at the company site in Halstenbek. The mirror on the left has been placed higher than the one on the right to minimise shading.
According to REN21’s Renewables 2014 Global Status Report, which was published at the UN-hosted Sustainable Energy for All Forum in New York at the beginning of June, solar thermal technologies contribute significantly to hot water production in many countries and increasingly to space heating and cooling, as well as industrial processes. REN21 is a global multi-stakeholder network for renewable energy policy, connecting key actors from governments, international organisations, industry associations, science and academia, as well as civil society. First released in 2005, the report provides a comprehensive and timely overview of renewable energy markets, industries, investments and policy developments worldwide. The renewable energy data is provided by an international network of more than 500 contributors, researchers and authors. According to report data, the world added 55.4 GWth (more than 79 million m2) of solar heat capacity in 2012, increasing the cumulative installed capacity of all collector types in operation by over 14 % for a year-end total of 283.4 GWth. The chart above shows the shares in global capacity in operation across 2012’s top ten countries.
Whereas India shows enormous demand for thermal energy in the industry and for cooking, solar thermal has so far only covered 0.2 % of the total heating and cooling need. Therefore it is urgent to scale up the use of decentralised solar thermal technologies. Supported by the Shakti Foundation, consultancy Greentech Knowledge Solutions (GKSPL), located in New Delhi, will prepare a roadmap for scaling up deployment of decentralised solar thermal technologies in India. With plans to publish the roadmap by October 2014, GKSPL organised the first stakeholder workshop in Pune at the end of April, gathering around 40 experts mainly from the solar thermal manufacturing business.
Since January 2014, companies have been able to receive grants for their thermal-driven sorption cooling systems with a cooling power between 5 kW and 500 kW from the programme for commercial cooling technology in Germany. Until 2013, the minimum cooling power for the programme had been 50 kW. The Federal Environment Ministry published the amendment on 16 December 2013 (see the attached document). The programme supports solar thermal cooling, but also cooling systems driven by other green heat sources, such as industrial waste heat, cogeneration plants and district heating. The subsidy is 25% of the net investment for the cooling system, including installation and consulting costs. Source: Green Chiller
2013 was already the fourth year for the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund’s subsidy scheme for large-scale solar systems.The demand for it was also still great: All in all, 37 projects profited from a total subsidy amount of about EUR 4.5 million (see the attached document). 18 of these projects were accompanied by case studies. The programme subsidises large-scale solar plants across the following application areas: solar process heat (6 systems), solar feed-ins into heat networks (11 systems), high solar coverage (15 systems), solar-supported air conditioning in combination with warm water and heating (4 systems), as well as new technologies and innovative approaches (1 system). The pie chart shows the shares of the aforementioned applications in the total subsidised collector area.
Going into its fifth year, the annual Intersolar India conference is expecting 700 national and international attendees, as well as roughly 100 speakers from all around the world. The international event, which will take place in the Leela Kempinski Hotel in Mumbai from 11 to 14 November 2013, will set the stage for discussing current conditions and developments in international markets, with a special focus on the Indian market and the latest technologies and trends in the areas of photovoltaics, PV production technologies, energy storage and solar thermal technologies (find more information about the conference programme here). The exhibition with around 200 companies at the Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC), Mumbai, will run from 12 to 14 November, opening its doors one day after the start of the conference. As many as 7,296 visitors filled Hall 1 at the BCEC last year (see photo).
Photo: Solar Promotion