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Switzerland: Current CO2 Tax Does Little to Help Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 16, 2017
Oil price chartThe solar thermal market in Switzerland has been shrinking for the past years because of increasing competition from photovoltaics and heat pumps. Additionally, the low oil price has led to a wait-and-see attitude among potential customers. The market continues to show no signs of an upturn despite the introduction of a CO2 tax on fossil fuels around 10 years ago. This tax, however, has done little to compensate for the one-third reduction in oil prices in 2015 and 2016. A more suitable alternative would be a levy linked to oil and gas prices.
Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office
 

Italy: Solar District Heating Shows Few Installations but Good Prospects

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 11, 2017
Ambiente ItaliaSubstantial solar resources and a generous incentive scheme called Conto Termico 2.0: Perfect conditions, it seems, for the widespread use of solar district heating. But barriers such as a low gas price and the concentration of district heating in a small part of Italy have so far limited deployment to a few installed systems. The map shows the three existing SDH plants in Varese, Sansicario and Lodi (red circles). A fourth with a gross area of about 600 m² is expected to come online in 2020 to feed heat into Turin’s district network operated by the Iren Group utility (yellow cirle).
Source: Ambiente Italia

USA: Concentrated Solar Thermal for Biosolid Drying

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 9, 2017
RackamSince the summer, two parabolic trough collectors have been drying sludge at a waste water treatment plant in Surprise in the state of Arizona, USA. The test project was developed by US-based Heat2Hydro to evaluate the effectiveness of this solution. The objective is to reduce the water content of the sludge and make it easier to transport. The municipality aims at expanding solar drying capacity to 5 MW thermal in about two years.
Photo: Heat2Hydro/Rackam
 

Solar District Heating: How to Tackle Land Use Issues

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 11, 2017
SDH double useUsually, solar district heating (SDH) plants require large fields for collector installations, which has raised concerns at local level because of competing land uses and a system’s potential visual impact on the surroundings. One way out of this dilemma is to combine heat generation and fruit and vegetable harvest (see illustration). As part of SDHp2m…From Policy to Market, a Horizon 2020 project, some regions are looking to create regulations based on best practice examples of land use or spatial heat planning. This article will present showcases from the Styria region in Austria, Hamburg in Germany and Valle d’Aosta in Italy (see also the attached fact sheets).
Graphic: Hamburg Institut Research
 

Slovenia: On the Path to Renewable District Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 2, 2017
Rok SunkoDistrict heating networks supplied by renewable energy sources (RES) are widely recognised today as one of the most effective ways to decarbonise the heating sector. The EU’s CoolHeating project has been supporting the implementation of small, modular renewable heating and cooling grids for towns in southeastern Europe by transferring knowledge from leading countries such as Austria, Denmark and Germany to newcomers, for example, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. It has also led to the publication of a handbook – Small modular renewable heating and cooling grids – available in seven languages (see the attached PDFs). Solarthermalworld.org talked to Rok Sunko (see photo) from one of the project partners, Skupina Fabrika about current developments and the outlook of RES district heating in Slovenia. The company is a Slovenian-based R&D business focusing on renewables, IT solutions and branding.
Photo: Skupina Fabrika
 

Concentrating Solar Thermal for High-Temperature Solar Process Heat

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 23, 2017
CNRSEven energy-intensive, high-temperature industrial processes can be supplied by solar thermal systems if concentrating solar technologies are used. The EU-supported Solpart project, coordinated by the French-based CNRS public research organisation, is investigating the deployment of high-temperature solar-heated reactors for the industrial production of calcium oxide or quicklime, a major cement ingredient. A 30 kWth pilot reactor, including storage, is planned to be constructed and analysed in CRNS’s solar furnace (see the photo above). A mirror field will heat up the reactor particles placed in the receiver tower to between 900 and 950 °C for calcination. Solpart was launched in early 2016 and will end in December 2019.
Photo: CNRS
 

Italy: 10,000 m² ORC-Connected Fresnel and Parabolic Trough Fields

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 19, 2017
Fresnel Collector Field ItalyItaly’s feed-in tariff for medium-size concentrating solar power plants has supported the installation of a 10,000 m² Fresnel collector array in Sardinia (see photo). The mirrors have been in operation since spring this year and are connected to an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) unit with 600 kW of nominal electric power. Construction for a second demonstration system, a 5 MWth parabolic trough field linked to an ORC turbine, is currently underway in Sicily. Both installations heat thermal oil to between 250 and 300 °C and use it to transfer heat directly from the solar panels to the ORC units by Italian-based Turboden, bringing their electrical efficiency to up to 25 %.
Photo: CSP-F (FERA Group)
 

MENA/Chile: Concentrating Solar Benchmark Costs

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 25, 2017
SunShotA tender for 94.5 USD/MWhel in Dubai and an R&D initiative called SunShot in the United States have shown how the cost of concentrated solar power (CSP) could be lowered at a steady pace thanks to economies of scale and optimised manufacturing and operation. Though the solar power market has been the driver for most of these developments, their outcomes are likewise relevant to solar thermal, where concentrating technologies have been used to provide heating or cooling for industrial processes. Two recent webinars organised by Spanish-based consultancy ATA Insights and focused on CSP in the MENA region and Chile had developers and researchers discuss the main drivers for cost cutting and the technology outlook in the short and medium term. The chart illustrates the SunShot aim to bring down the cost of parabolic trough collectors from around 200 USD/m² to 75 USD/m².
Source: Department of Energy, USA
 

Italy: 6,820 Municipalities Report Solar Thermal Use

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 21, 2017
Legambiente Report TitleIn 2005, Legambiente, the largest environmental association in Italy, began publishing an annual report called Comuni Rinnovabili to show renewable deployment in Italian municipalities. The number of communities which had solar thermal installations increased from 108 in 2005 to 6,820 in this year’s edition, which is based on 2016 figures. Data is collected by sending a questionnaire directly to the municipalities and cross-checking the responses with official figures from GSE, the state-owned business managing renewable incentive schemes in Italy, and information and reports sent in by regional and industry associations and individual companies. Less populated municipalities are doing well in these statistics: Of the 6,820 communities which reported solar thermal installations, 4,454 are small and very small ones with a population below 5,000.
 

ESTIF Rebranding: “We are solar, we are heat, we are Europe”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 7, 2017
Robin WellingThe European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) has recently changed its name to Solar Heat Europe and developed a new corporate identity. It represents the interests of the solar thermal sector at EU institutions and is home to around 50 European solar thermal manufacturers, national industry associations, research institutes and service providers. Solar Heat Europe’s headquarters are in Brussels, where a team of four strives to advance solar heat solutions. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with President Robin Welling about the purpose of the rebranding effort. Welling is Managing Director of Austrian collector manufacturer and system supplier Tisun and has been President of ESTIF since 2010.
Source: Solar Heat Europe & Tisun
 

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