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Big Ups and Downs on Global Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 26, 2016
The global solar thermal market went into another year of notable decline in 2015. With 37.2 GWth, the newly installed glazed and unglazed collector capacity in the 18 largest countries was 14 % lower than in 2014 (43.4 GWth). Between 2013 and 2014, the decrease in these 18 major countries – which represent 95-97 % of the world market – had been 15 %. The further slowdown last year was the result of diminishing collector area figures in China (-17 %), and in Europe (nine biggest nations down by -5 %). The countries with the highest growth rates last year were Denmark (+55 %), Turkey (+10 %), Israel (+9 %) and Mexico (+8 %). The chart shows both 2015’s newly installed collector area, broken down by collector type – flat plate, vacuum tube and unglazed collector area, and the 2014-2015 growth rate (excluding China, whose 2015 market volume was 21-times larger than Turkey, which ranked second). China added 30.5 GWth in 2015 of which 12.6 % were flat plate collectors (5.5 million m2). 
Figures: solrico, data: see bottom of the article

France: Monitoring Innovations – Rebuilding Investor Confidence

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 22, 2015
 Tecsol Monitoring Device“The French market has been suffering from inadequately performing solar thermal installations made in the boom years of 2009 to 2011 because of untrained installers,” said Edwige Gautier, Project Coordinator at Enerplan, the Union of Professionals in Solar Energy, during her speech at SHC2015 in Istanbul at the beginning of December. “We need to rebuild investor confidence in solar thermal.” Training and installation manuals are one way to achieve this aim, monitoring systems would be another. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that two solar thermal innovations were conceived in France this year: Tecsol’s One Thermique and the storage tank touchscreens by Viessmann with its storage tank and collector factory in Faulquemont, France. 
 

France Increases Public Support for Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 11, 2015

The French energy agency Ademe has been supporting renewable heat production in the industry, the district heating sector and at multi-family buildings since 2009. The budget of the national subsidy scheme, Fonds Chaleur (Heat Fund), will double in amount from around EUR 240 million per year to EUR 420 million in 2017. During 2009 to 2014, solar installations accounted for as little as 6 % of Fonds Chaleur's EUR 1.2 billion (see the attached report). Despite the high subsidy amount, the number of solar thermal applications is declining, as is the French solar market in general. Ademe is trying to counter the negative trend by offering new incentive schemes to address the large solar systems segments.
Source: Ademe

France: Industry Does Not Yet Surrender

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 3, 2015
Workshop Nantes 2015The one-day workshop of the French solar sector to discuss the General State of Solar Heat in 2015 (États Généraux de la Chaleur Solaire 2015) took place in Nantes on 20 October with around 130 participants. The market is still decreasing, but the industry is closing its ranks to get out of the difficult situation. Multi-family housing and large-scale solar fields could give solar a second chance – that's at least what the French solar sector has been betting on. The workshop was organised by Enerplan, the Union of Professionals in Solar Energy, and supported by the French energy agency Ademe, as well as French gas supplier GrDF, a subsidiary of French utility Engie, formerly GDF Suez. 
Photo: Enerplan
 

France: Mixed Feelings about 2015 Industry Development

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 3, 2015
Workshop Aix-les-BainsThe solar thermal industry in France is going through difficult times: In 2014, market volume decreased again, this time by around 15 %, and business satisfaction among solar thermal system suppliers has been low. Both results are outcomes of the second one-day workshop held in Aix-les-Bains, a city in Savoie, south of Geneva, on 16 September 2014. Around 130 experts from the industry, research and service providers followed the invitation of Enerplan, the Union of Professionals in Solar Energy, to discuss the “Current State of Solar Heat in France”. Two of the meeting’s hot topics were innovation and reductions in system costs. As every cloud has a silver lining, there are two policy improvements this year: The tax credit for energy efficiency measures and renewable heating systems in residential homes will remain at 30 % until 31 December 2015 and the budget of the national subsidy scheme Fonds Chaleur (Heat Fund) will double from EUR 220 million in 2014 to EUR 400 million in 2017 and benefit multi-family and tertiary buildings. On the other hand, the government extended the 7 kWh/m2 bonus for multi-family houses within building standard RT1012 until 2018. The industry hoped that the bonus found in the RT 2012 building regulations would be rescinded at the end of 2014.
Photo: Enerplan
 

France: Debate about Planned Tax Credit Reductions

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 31, 2013
In 2013, all indicators are flashing red! According to the sales statistics from Uniclima, the French union for the heating, cooling and ventilation industry, the newly installed collector area is expected to shrink to around 200,000 m² in 2013. All three major segments of the market declined. Uniclima estimates hot water systems for single-family houses (CESI in French) to have dropped by 21% and combi systems for single-family houses (SSC in French) to have shrunk by 15%. For the first time after 2010, the segment of multi-family houses with larger solar thermal systems (ESC in French) seems to have also reduced in volume by 13%. The situation was quite different over the last two years, when the decline in the single-family housing market was offset by a strong increase in the multi-family building segment. 
Source: Enerplan for 2007 to 2011, Uniclima for 2012 and 2013

France: Solar Thermal Energy under Review

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 1, 2013

On 11 October, around 100 solar thermal specialists followed the invitation of the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, ADEME, to Paris, France, in order to discuss the unsatisfying situation of the French solar heating and cooling market. The meeting included a presentation of the results of the recently finalised study “Analysis of the competitiveness and development of the solar thermal sector in France” (official summary not yet available). An action plan is intended to show the industry how to become more competitive.
Photo: Lydie Bahjejian

France: One Voice for Renewable Heat

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 18, 2013

In France, players of solar thermal, geothermal, heat pumps and biomass founded the Alliance Chaleur Renouvelable (translated as Renewable Heat Alliance) in February 2013. "This network speaks with one voice when it comes to the demands and suggestions from the renewable heat industry," says Valérie Laplagne, Initiator of the project and Head of Renewable Energy at Uniclima, the French union for the heating, cooling and ventilation industry. Timing is critical: In November 2012, France launched its energy transition debate, which should result in an important law specifying the new French energy policy by autumn 2013. But after renewable heat players had noticed that renewable energies had been reduced to electricity in the debate, they created the alliance. It lobbies for solar thermal in the retrofit segment, because the solar heat market is currently dominated by new construction (see photo).
Photo: Barraco / Maison NF HQE BBC-Effinergie

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 - www.solaire-collectif.fr - 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: High Solar Thermal Standing, But Shrinking Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 26, 2013

French people like solar thermal, but their wish to install a system seems to hardly come true. According to a recent survey among 1,008 persons, which was conducted by French survey company Ifop in January 2013, 5% claim to own a solar water heater and 4% a combined system for hot water and heating. Moreover, 17% of the interviewees are planning to install a solar water heater (vs 13% in 2012) and 16% a combined system (vs 12% in 2012). The target group of the survey was a representative mix of French adults in terms of sex, age, profession, region and living standard. The study, which had been commissioned by the certification body of companies in the renewable energy field, Qualit’ENR, also showed a high trust in solar technology: More than 80 % of the participants believe that solar thermal energy is a reliable technology – making it the ranking’s Number One, as the chart above shows. You will find the French Qualit’ENR summary PDFs from the beginning of January attached to this news piece.
Chart: Ifop

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