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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: Subvention Scheme Requirements for Collective Solar Thermal Installations in Languedoc-Roussillon – Prométhée Programme (2014)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on March 3, 2015

ADEME, the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management, has published a guidance document on the requirements needed to benefit from state aids for the installation of collective solar thermal systems in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon. The programme grants financial aids for feasibility studies and for solar thermal installation in buildings with high domestic hot water needs, such as social housing, hospitals, hotels, swimming pools.

Solar Thermal Systems in Industry (2014)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on January 2, 2015

This presentation was given by Stéphane Joblot of E-Sol, a company specialized in renewable energy studies, during a workshop organized in the framework of the programme of the Alsace region, with the support of  ADEME, the French Environment Agency.  After giving a general overview of various solar thermal techonololgies and applications, the speaker shares the findings from a case study which analyzed the process needs of an agri-food company in the city of Colmar. This company operates 5 days a week and needs 4.000 liters of water at 60° C daily.

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: 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)

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

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 - - 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.


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