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Sonnenkraft, Holter and Tisun – the changing face of Austria’s industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 26, 2018
Photo: Thomas PirkerTwo strategic decisions taken by Austrian-based supplier Sonnenkraft in early 2018 have strengthened its position on the market. First, it secured an exclusive national distribution agreement with Holter, an Austrian wholesaler of heating equipment. Installers of Sonnenkraft equipment can now order products and systems on digital sales portal Holter online as opposed to getting them directly from the company. Second, on 4 December 2017, the supplier acquired the remaining 49 % stake in Austrian collector manufacturer Tisun, a competitor from which it had already purchased 51 % of the shares in May 2017. On 5 February 2018, the new owner asked for Tisun to be put into administration and an insolvency practitioner is now leading the restructuring effort. 
Photo: Thomas Pirker

Germany: Today’s System Suppliers Wary of Fixed-Price Marketing Campaigns

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 8, 2016
Sonnenkraft Advertising 2005 and 2015The German solar thermal market is still stuck in recession. Although incentives are higher than they have ever been, demand has not really picked up over the first five months of this year, according to the market statistics by the two associations BSW Solar and BDH. The total collector area sold until the end of May was again down by 5.3 % compared to the previous year, although vacuum tubes have been more strongly affected by the slump (-18 %) than flat plate collectors (-4 %). Installers are viewed as the bottleneck in the supply chain and an increasing number of solar thermal suppliers have run advert campaigns to try and reach end customers on their own. has already reported on the new end-customer sales strategies employed by Thermondo. This article describes how the campaigns of another German system supplier, Sonnenkraft, have changed over the years. The image depicts an advertisement for the campaign from 2005 (left) and one from 2015 (right).
Image: Sonnenkraft

Denmark: New Arcon-Sunmark Focuses on Large-Scale Turnkey Installations

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 12, 2015
Sunmark VietnamDanish VKR Holding purchased collector manufacturer and turnkey system supplier Sunmark Solutions, also from Denmark, and incorporated the company into subsidiary Arcon Solar. The two firms have now merged to become Arcon-Sunmark, a direct subsidiary of VKR Holding and headquartered in Skørping in Northern Jutland, Torben Sørensen, Chairman of the Board of Arcon-Sunmark, says in a press release from 3 February 2015. Sørensen quit his job as CEO of Danish VKR subsidiary SolarCap, which was shut down and all its stakes divested in the course of 2014. has reported on the buyout of Sonnenkraft, as well as Greenonetec. The photo shows the Vietnamese collector production factory of Sunmark Solutions.
Photo: Sunmark Solutions

Austria: Robert Kanduth Buys Back 50 % Greenonetec Stake

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 1, 2015
Robert KanduthDanish Solarcap’s solar disinvestment strategy continues: In November 2014, the subsidiary of the Danish VKR Holding sold its 50 % share in Austrian collector manufacturer Greenonetec back to the founder, Robert Kanduth (see photo). Kanduth is an Austrian entrepreneur with experiences in a wide variety of business segments, such as hotels, photovoltaics, as well as solar thermal. The second half of Greenonetec belongs to Austrian company Kioto Clear Energy, of which Kanduth owns around 65 %. This holding has 310 staff and made a turnover of EUR 90 million in 2013, including solar thermal and solar photovoltaic production.
Photo: Greenonetec

Colombia: New Law Promises Tax Incentives

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 17, 2014
Hotel Plaza ColombiaA new law has just provided the framework to offer renewable tax incentives in Colombia. The law will now be followed by a decree, which is expected to be finalised within less than a year and will specify the objectives and support measures for different renewable energy technologies. Still, some companies are currently seeing the market grow even without any incentives in place, especially in the hotel and healthcare sector. The photo shows a field of 150 collectors on the roof of the Hotel Plaza in Bogotá. The system covers more than 40 % of the hotel’s hot water demand.
Photo: GIE

Austria/Europe: General Solar Systems and Sonnenkraft Management Buyout

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 27, 2014
Since 1 January 2014, General Solar Systems (GSS), one of the biggest solar thermal system suppliers in Europe, has had a new owner: Together with Austrian investors, former GSS Financial Director Primus Spitzer took over the company from Danish Solarcap, a subsidiary of VKR Holding. The takeover was announced in a press release on 3 February 2014. GSS with its well-known brand Sonnenkraft is now owned by Austrian company PS Helios headquartered in St Veit, Austria, with Spitzer being the only shareholder. According to the press release, GSS employed nearly 150 staff and achieved a turnover of around EUR 45 million in 2013.

Mozambique: “The government is committed to the development of clean energy technologies”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 29, 2013

Mozambique is one of the partner countries of the SOLTRAIN project, which has contributed to the implementation of solar thermal energy in four Southern African countries since 2009. Country partner in Mozambique is the Eduardo Mondlane University, UEM, in Maputo. spoke with Coordinator Dr Geraldo Nhumaio from the Faculty of Engineering about SOLTRAIN’s results so far, the current situation of the solar thermal market in Mozambique and the expectations for the recently started phase 2 of the project. The photo shows a solar hot water accumulator on the Muxungue Rural Hospital (supply and installation: Gavedra Moçambique).
Photo: Fundo Nacional de Energia - FUNAE

Austria: Tough Competition in a Shrinking Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 29, 2013

2012 meant shrinking sales figures in the Austrian solar thermal market for the third time in a row. Although most states have increased their subsidies for solar thermal, 2013 does not seem to get any better. Three companies went bankrupt within the last four months. Collector prices on the market are dropping – some call it normal competition or the end of a high price era, others call it dumping. According to the sales data from Austria Solar members, the market shrank by almost 16% in 2012 compared to 2011, reaching about 200,000 m² last year.

Industrial Perspectives in Solar (2012)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on December 20, 2012

This presentation - made by Sonnenkraft's Christian Sadler - examines recent develoments in the European solar thermal market, and looks forward to likely developments in the next years. It begins by highlighting thtat the heating sector accounted for 48% of the EU's energy consumption in 2010, and yet remains underestimated by policy makers. It then confirms that solar thermal energy has firmly established itself as the superior solution for heat production when compared with PV.

Finland: “Most of Them Think: We Don’t Have Enough Sunshine”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 6, 2012

 Solar Thermal Installation in Finland The Finnish market for solar thermal technology is still in its infancy, but could offer a worthwhile potential. The solar radiation in southern Finland is only 10 to 15 % lower than in Northern Germany and the first domestic manufacturers have already presented collector solutions which would use this energy as efficient as possible.


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