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Austria: Solar Power Market Up, Renewable Heat Down

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 4, 2017
Market Report Austria 2016
Last year, the Austrian solar thermal market declined for the seventh time in a row. The newly installed glazed collector area added up to 111,040 m² (78 MWth), 19 % below the one of 2015. Sales of biomass boilers experienced a similar drop, with wood chip boilers (<100 kW) down by 12 % and pellet boilers by 14 %. PV capacity was the only one growing again, rising to 156 MWp, 3 % above its 2015 total. These key figures have been taken from a report published annually by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, bmvit, and titled Innovative Energy Technologies in Austria – Market Development (see the attached document in German). This year’s 242-page document was first presented on 22 June in Vienna, Austria. The chapter starting on page 131 provides a comprehensive overview of the Austrian solar thermal market, including sales by collector type and application as well as export and import statistics. 
Image: bmvit
 

Austria: Haier Now Holds 51 % Stake in Greenonetec

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 15, 2017
Greenonetec HaierThere has been another Sino-European cooperation on solar thermal in recent weeks. On 18 May, Chinese-based Haier Group, one of the largest manufacturers of household appliances in the world, bought a 51 % stake in Austrian collector manufacturer Greenonetec, based in St Veit in southern Austria, from its sole shareholder, Robert Kanduth. Both parties share 50:50 voting rights and Kanduth has remained as managing director of the world’s largest flat plate collector factory. The objective of the two shareholders is to establish licenced production of large-scale flat plate collectors in China and offer selected Haier products with the help of Greenonetec’s distribution network in Europe. The photo shows Helvig Kanduth, entrepreneur and member of the newly created advisory board, Robert Kanduth, Xingzai Han, Director of Haier’s Home Appliances Industry and Changyu Zhuang, Head of R&D at Haier Group and member of the same new board (from left).
Photo: Greenonetec
 

Europe: Comparing Solar Keymark Data on Collectors with Foil or Double Glass Cover to Ones Without

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 3, 2017
KBB large-scale collectorDenmark’s success story in solar district heating, with 2016 having been another record year which almost doubled newly installed collector area to around 500,000 m², showcases the large potential of this type of application across Europe. Cost cuts in the supply chain are key: Two vital factors are fast installation and less hydraulic work on site. The answer by manufacturers to these challenges has been to design large-scale prefabricated collectors. Suppliers of vacuum tube collectors offer modular designs for easy mounting of collectors above 10 m²; large flat plate versions come as one piece and certified by Solar Keymark. The yearly market surveys by German magazine Sonne Wind & Wärme show that the number of certified flat plate collector panels above 10 m² of gross collector area has increased in Europe in recent years. As of 29 March 2017, the magazine’s online collector database listed 62 models from eight brands compared to 20 types of collectors in October 2015.
Photo: KBB
 

Austria: New Medium-Temperature Collectors Show Remarkable Yield in District Heating Use

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 2, 2017
Graz Test Field SOLIDDuring the last seven years, a group of scientists has monitored selected large solar thermal installations in Austria on behalf of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund. The gathered data confirms that these plants have been reliable and produce satisfactory yields. Particularly the new generation of large-scale medium-temperature collectors either with a foil or with a second glass cover shows remarkable results in district heating use. The 2,490 m² solar field (see photo) which has fed heat into the district heating network of Graz, Austria, reached a yield of 489 kWh/m². 
Photo: Picfly.at Thomas Eberhard
 

Worldwide: Flat Plate Collector Manufacturer Ranking

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 21, 2016
Collector Ranking 2015The ranking of the largest flat plate collector manufacturers is headed by the same four companies as last year: Greenonetec from Austria, Fivestar from China, Soletrol from Brazil and Bosch Thermotechnik from Germany. But aside from the continuity at the top, last year shows what different paths some markets have taken. Whereas Australian-based Solahart, one of the pioneers of global solar collector trade, as well as Soletrol, the largest Brazilian manufacturer, have lost ground, several others – such as Sunrain from China, Hewalex from Poland and Eraslan from Turkey – were able to report above-average growth for 2015 and rise through the ranks. The produced collector area of the overall 21 companies added up to 4,212,462 m². The number was 21 and not 20 because the last and second-last spot were occupied by companies with equal production output.
Chart: solrico
 

Denmark/Sweden: Arcon-Sunmark Collector Retesting Prompts Discussion on Solar Keymark Network Rules

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 16, 2016
This July, SP issued new Solar Keymark certificates for four Danish Arcon-Sunmark collectors after the Swedish test lab and certification body had retested these four systems in April. The retesting had been necessary, as SP had received six complaints because of a lower-than-expected c1 (heat loss coefficient) value on certificates issued in November 2015. At first, it looked like a case closed, but the stakeholders who submitted complaints are now calling for a reform of the complaint procedures and tolerances established by the Solar Keymark Network (SKN). 
 

Nicaragua: Soft Loan to Fund EUR 4 Million Project

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 14, 2016
Hospital ManaguaThere is now nothing in the way of constructing an impressive solar heating and cooling installation in Nicaragua. At the end of September, the last signatures were placed under the contract documents for a 4,450 m² collector field which will supply air conditioning and warm water to the Hospital Militar Escuela Dr. Alejandro Dávila Bolaños in Managua (see photo), the capital city of the central American nation. “Installation work will start in January 2017, and commissioning is planned for the second quarter of next year,” was how Christian Holter, Managing Director of S.O.L.I.D, outlined the ambitious plan. The Austrian turnkey system supplier had been struggling for over three years to receive financing for the 4 million EUR project in form of a soft loan, a financing instrument for developing countries.
Photo: Hospital Militar Escuela Dr. Alejandro Dávila Bolaños
 

South Africa: Solar Green Beer Production Creates High IRR

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 14, 2016
CBC Installation South AfricaSouth Africa’s solar process heat installations remain profitable when they have to compete against other heat sources, such as diesel, paraffin, petrol or gas, the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, has concluded in a recently published paper. The researchers at the CRSES conducted a feasibility study of a 120.7 m² collector field that was to cover 60 % of the existing hot water requirements of Cape Brewing Company (CBC) based in Suider-Paarl, Western Cape, and analysed ten proposals submitted after the company’s invitation to tender in January 2015. South African E3 Energy won by offering an installation with a levelised cost of energy of 7.9 EUR cents/kWh, an internal rate of return of 16.7 % and a payback period of 9.3 years. CBC´s daily hot water demand is estimated to be 7,000 litres at 85 °C during 245 days a year, i.e., during a full year except for weekends, public holidays and two weeks of summer holidays. The system went into operation in November 2015 and the COO of CBC, Andy Kung, seems satisfied with the performance and the energy saving it offers. 
Still image taken from the short film
 

IEA SHC: Cost Reduction Analysis Workshops at German University of Stuttgart

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 8, 2016
Task54 Brussels WorkshopSystem cost reduction is one of the most urgent challenges of the solar thermal sector, especially in central Europe. The aim of Task 54 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme, Price Reduction of Solar Thermal Systems, is to lower solar heat prices by up to 40 %. Germany’s main scientific contributions to the task have come from the two research projects KoST and TEWIsol, which have been co-funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The corresponding Task 54 meeting will take place in Stuttgart on 6/7 October (see the attached programme) in conjunction with a workshop on 5 October to present and discuss KoST and TEWIsol (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; held in German). The photo shows the Task 54 workshop organised in collaboration with the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation in Brussels in May 2016.
Photo: Fraunhofer ISE
 

Europe: Solar Keymark Network to Improve Complaint Procedures

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 31, 2016
The Solar Keymark Network has decided to establish a working group in order to revise and improve the complaint procedures and put them into one document, as they have so far been described in several different papers and various articles: The Solar Keymark Scheme Rules, Article 2.2, includes instructions on how to handle complaints and there is Article 6.3. Special Test, whereas the CEN-CENELEC Internal Regulations Part 4, Article 7.4, describes the appeal procedures (see the attached documents). This move is deemed necessary because at the end of 2015 – for the first time since the Solar Keymark label was launched – several complaints were submitted to one of the empowered certification bodies. “In our network meeting, we informed the members about the first big complaint and discussed the need for putting the complaint procedures into one document, to make it clearer for the solar thermal industry how to use them,” said Jaime Fernández González-Granda, Chairman of the Solar Keymark Network and Product Officer at the Spanish certification and standardisation body, AENOR. 
 

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