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France: National Conference Debates Solar Thermal Future

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 6, 2013

The July 2013 report of the Court of Auditors shows that solar thermal technology is considered too inefficient and too expensive in comparison with other renewable technologies. The chart on the left, which has been taken from the study, depicts that 25 % of public renewable funding in the last seven years was spent on solar thermal and solar photovoltaics, whereas the supported systems only produced 1.6% of the total renewable heat and electricity in 2011. spoke with Paul Kaaijk, responsible for solar thermal within the national subsidy scheme Fonds Chaleur at ADEME, about the current situation of the French solar thermal market.
Source: Cour des Comptes, July 2013 (page 115)

Germany: Winners of Research Competition

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 3, 2013

The winners of the first Research Video Competition received their awards at the international conference SHC 2013 in Freiburg in September 2013. The first prize – an iPad mini - went to Christine Tillmann, R&D Engineer at the German Institute of Air Handling and Refrigeration, ILK, in Dresden for her video titled “Thermally-driven cold generation - air-cooled absorption chiller”. Daniel Mugnier (centre) from French company Tecsol accepted the prize on behalf of Tillmann, as both researchers cooperate within Task 48 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling programme headed by Mugnier. Jan Steinweg (left) from the German Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin (ISFH) came in second, with the prize being a free conference ticket. Together with his colleague Francis Kliem, they had produced a video explaining in clear words the relevance of “Pipe-internal Re-circulation in Storage Connections”  for tank efficiency and the measures to avoid it.
Photo: Stephanie Banse

France: Fonds Chaleur Underperforms in Solar Thermal Sector

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 19, 2013

The French national support scheme Fonds Chaleur has had little effect on the solar thermal sector. Since the start of the programme in April 2009, only 5% of the total investments in approved projects have involved solar thermal technology according to a press release from the French Energy Ministry at the 11th of October 2012. The biomass sector – residential and non-residential - accounts for 56% of the total volume. The number of annually approved solar thermal projects has even been decreasing year after year. Whereas 404 solar thermal installations had received funding in 2010, Ademe only registered 224 systems in 2012. “In the current year, the number of approved projects in solar thermal is again smaller,” explains Michel Cairey-Remonnay, Programme Coordinator of Fonds Chaleur at Ademe, and adds that one of the reasons for the low demand is that “solar thermal technology is still too expensive”.
Source: Ademe

September in Germany: Two conferences in one week

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 17, 2013

This September, Germany’s Black Forest will be the top spot for solar thermal experts from all around the world: From 23 to 25 September, the second International Conference on Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC 2013) will take place in Freiburg, Germany´s unofficial solar capital. It will be directly followed by the 5th International Conference Solar Air Conditioning, which will take place from 25 to 27 September in Bad Krozingen, just 20 minutes southwest of Freiburg. The programmes for both events are now available. Early bird fees will be available until 7 of August.

France: Third Player to Launch PVT Panel on Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 7, 2013

In February 2013, French manufacturer Dualsun launched its hybrid solar panel, also called PVT, a technology which produces electricity and heat simultaneously. Dualsun has been the third French company after solar specialists Sillia and ABCD International to introduce this new technology to the French market. “We are really at the beginning of this combined technology in France. Most businesses on the market are still at the research stage,” says Daniel Mugnier, a solar heating expert from French consultancy Tecsol. The Dualsun unit consists of photovoltaic cells in the front and a metal heat absorber in the back, which are laminated together. The PVT element is inserted in a metal frame and installed on the roof. The photo shows the first demonstration project on the roof of a single family house in Roquebrune, France. Six Dualsun panels have been set up here for a family of six.
Photo: Dualsun

France: SoCol Network Shares Best Practices for Multi-family Houses

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 15, 2013

Taking a close look at the SoCol network website - - will get you several useful documents on solar thermal best practices for multi-family buildings. First, there are the technical guide and the maintenance guide - the former including hydraulic schemes for domestic solar hot water production in multi-family houses (see the attached document in French). “These documents are intended for both professionals and building owners to help them prepare tenders,” explains Daniel Mugnier, a solar heating and cooling expert from French consultancy Tecsol and a very active member of the network.

France: Influence of New Building Standards in 2013

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 19, 2012

The solar thermal industry in France looks with mixed feelings to next year. Certain system suppliers are convinced that the French building regulation RT2012 will push solar water heaters in the residential segment in 2013. In contrast, others are afraid that hot water heat pumps will make the race because electricity prices are still low and the heat pump lobby is well represented across the country. Together with the low-energy building label BBC, the previous RT2005 regulation have proven to be rather successful in the last three years and especially in 2012 with regard to solar thermal systems in multi-family houses. It is still unclear how the new regulation RT2012 will affect the implementation of this technology. The chart shows the steps that have been taken to ensure a zero-energy or energy-positive housing standard in new buildings in 2020.

France: Solar District Heating with Energy Costs around 0.06 EUR/kWh

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 4, 2012

A new business and housing area in suburban Toulouse in southern France, called Balma-Gramont “eco-district”, will be connected to the country´s first solar-supported district heating network. Special vacuum tube collectors made in France and installed over a parking area are to provide 15 % of the heating in offices, ecologically built houses, shops, small businesses, schools and public utilities. The 300 kW solar field will supply heat to the houses and offer shade to the parking area.
Figure: SAED Sophia Energy

France: 20 Years Solar Cooling Kept Promises

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 1, 2012

It was the first in France in the private food sector and one of the first in Europe – the solar cooling system in the cellar of the GICB winery (Groupement Interproducteurs du Cru de Banyuls) in the south of France. In 1991, successful experiences with solar cooling could rarely be found and investors, as well as donors, were hesitant to endorse the new technology. “It took a lot of work to convince Michel Jomain, former Managing Director of GICB, to get together the funds needed for this ambitious project,” French engineering company Tecsol recalls in an article published in the latest issue of its magazine, Plein Soleil. The installation was designed by Tecsol engineer Louis Casals who paid a lot of attention to minimising the risk of failure. With success! Performance data over 20 years show clearly that the system kept its promises.
Photo: Tecsol

Solar Thermal Energy for Cooling and Refrigeration: Status and Perspectives (2012)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on July 12, 2012

This presentation - given by TECSOL’s Daniel Mugnier at the 2012 Intersolar fair in Munich - gives an overview of recent technological developments in Solar Cooling, and an outlook for the progress that still needs to be made in the future.  This is made in the framework of Task 48 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Program. The main technical progress over the last decade is outlined for closed cycles and open sorptive cycles, as well as sorption cooling and high temperature applications. 


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