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ESCO Project Funding: Search for Attractive Case Studies to Fill Project Pipeline

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 5, 2016
Energy Contracting FundSolar heating and cooling has not been bankable yet despite various systems confirming expected performance and O&M costs. Project budgets are usually too small and the technology suppliers do not pass the stringent requirements of creditworthiness, which leaves the financial provider with a high-risk scenario. Accordingly, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) have faced severe financing issues, which slow down the expansion of their business. It is good news to them that two recently launched projects also focus on facilitating the creation of an investment fund for solar thermal ESCO projects: First, there is the Feasibility Study - Energy Contracting Fund, which is jointly coordinated by the German Investment and Development Corporation Bank (DEG) and German SHC turnkey provider Industrial Solar; the second project, TrustEE – enhancing investment conditions for industrial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, is from the EU and has been coordinated by Austrian institute AEE INTEC.
 

Top District Heating Countries – Euroheat & Power 2015 Survey Analysis

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 1, 2016
Euroheat & Power LogoSolar district heating has enjoyed increasing attention from all across Europe and China, triggered by Denmark’s enormous growth rates in the field. Until the end of last year, the Scandinavian country had seen 577 MW of solar thermal power fed into 79 district heating networks mostly run by municipalities. There are another 364 MWth in the pipeline, scheduled for the beginning of this year. To identify the countries with the largest potential for solar district heating, it is worth taking a closer look at the country-by-country statistics of the biennial Euroheat & Power publication, whose most current version is from March 2015 and includes the key market indicators. Euroheat & Power, the association for district heating and cooling, is headquartered in Brussels and has 11 full-time staff.
 

IEA SHC: Levelised Cost of Heat and the Calculations behind It

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 28, 2016
The main objective of IEA SHC Task 52, Solar Thermal in Energy Supply Systems in Urban Environments, is to call attention to both the technical and economic aspects of solar heating and cooling usage in densely populated urban areas. Urban planners and commercial clients want to know the costs compared to the energy output generated by various solar heating technologies. A method to benchmark different solar heat production systems is Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE). This method is described by the IEA as the “average price that would have to be paid by consumers to repay exactly the investor/operator for the capital, operation and maintenance and fuel expenses, with a rate of return equal to the discount rate”. The chart shows the LCOE for different applications and system sizes in northern / central European climates, taken from the most current Task 52 study Technology and Demonstrators (for further details see table below). The author of the study, Franz Mauthner from Austrian research institute AEE INTEC, contributed to this article, which elaborates on the method and the calculations behind it. 
Chart: Task 52 / Technology and Demonstrators study
 

Brussels: Travel Where Politics and Funding Meet

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 13, 2016
TASK 54The organiser of the two day conference Solar Thermal Energy for Europe 2020 is inviting stakeholders from the industry and solar heating and cooling researchers to Brussels, Belgium, on 24 and 25 May to offer them first-hand information on Horizon 2020 calls, an exchange of ideas and experiences and a venue for finding soon-to-be project partners. The European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP) of the Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC) concludes with a workshop on the Price Reduction of Solar Thermal Systems. The one-and-a-half hour session will be organised by the researchers of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme’s Task 54, which goes by the same name as the workshop.
 

Europe: Solar Thermal Is Best-Known Renewable Heating Technology

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 1, 2016
FROnT Project 2As part of EU project Fair RHC Options and Trade (FROnT), customers from the residential, non-residential and industrial sector were asked about the key points factoring into their decision on a heating or cooling system. In all sectors, solar thermal was the most widely known renewable heat technology. Among the around two-thirds of the interview partners who knew about renewable heating and cooling technologies, 96 % of the residential, 89% of non-residential and 79 % of industrial customers were aware of the opportunities of solar thermal energy. “That was a confirming result for us,” Stefano Lambertucci, Policy Officer at the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), said. Awareness of solar cooling was significantly lower, especially in the industrial sector, where biomass and geothermal heat pumps received high scores.
Figure: FROnT
 

Certification – A Marketing Tool for Solar Thermal Energy Professionals

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 11, 2016
To have a solar thermal system on the roof of one’s home may be a good thing if it does work well. But the probability that solar water heaters perform as they should and as long as they are supposed to is higher when they are installed by real experts familiar with the best practices of the industry. But how is one to know whether an installer is a real professional? Certification may be a viable indicator of whether or not a plumber can be trusted with installing a modern solar thermal system. That is why certification is gaining importance not only in manufacturing, but also in other parts of the industry. 
 

Europe: 23 New and Upgraded Solar District Heating Plants of 190 MWth Start Operation in 2015

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 5, 2016
District Heating EuropeAs in previous years, Denmark remained the country dominating Europe’s solar district heating market. Twenty of the 23 new and upgraded district heating plants in Europe above 350 kWth (500 m²) from the statistics compiled by Jan-Olof Dalenbäck from the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, went into operation in Denmark – whereas Austria, Italy and Sweden had only one each to show for. Dalenbäck’s database shows 211 large-scale district heating plants currently in operation, with combined output at 708 MW (1.01 million m²). This means that only every fourth district heating plant in Europe uses solar energy compared to the 5,400 district heating systems a database from Swedish Halmstad University lists from across the EU-27. The map shows 2,188 cities with 2,445 larger district heating systems. The highest plant densities can be found in Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. 
Source: Heat Roadmap Europe 2050 - Second pre-study for the EU27 (see the attached document)
 

Europe: Solar Keymark Network to Improve Complaint Procedures

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 31, 2016
The Solar Keymark Network has decided to establish a working group in order to revise and improve the complaint procedures and put them into one document, as they have so far been described in several different papers and various articles: The Solar Keymark Scheme Rules, Article 2.2, includes instructions on how to handle complaints and there is Article 6.3. Special Test, whereas the CEN-CENELEC Internal Regulations Part 4, Article 7.4, describes the appeal procedures (see the attached documents). This move is deemed necessary because at the end of 2015 – for the first time since the Solar Keymark label was launched – several complaints were submitted to one of the empowered certification bodies. “In our network meeting, we informed the members about the first big complaint and discussed the need for putting the complaint procedures into one document, to make it clearer for the solar thermal industry how to use them,” said Jaime Fernández González-Granda, Chairman of the Solar Keymark Network and Product Officer at the Spanish certification and standardisation body, AENOR. 
 

European Commission´s First Strategy on Heating and Cooling

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 22, 2016
The European Commission published its long-awaited EU Strategy for Heating and Cooling on 16 February 2016. It was the first time that the commission took the initiative to address exclusively renewable energy use for heating and cooling in buildings and industry, which accounts for 50 % of the EU´s annual energy consumption. Two documents were presented in a press conference on that very day (attached to this news article): a 13-page position paper entitled An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling, which explains the most important barriers and action fields, and the 200-page Commission Staff Working Document – Review of available information, which was published in two parts. 
 

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