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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. 

Solergy Collector Label: EU Commission Confirms Clear Distinction from Energy Labelling

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 28, 2015
The implementation of voluntary collector label Solergy will enter into the second phase in 2016. The European Commission has confirmed that there was no likelihood of confusing the voluntary mark with the official energy labelling stipulated since September 2015 for heating devices across Europe, the Steering Committee of the Solar Heating Initiative said in a letter sent to selected stakeholders in the middle of December. The letter went on to explain that it would now be the responsibility of DIN Certco, the German certification body, to issue Solergy labels officially and register the certificates in an online database. During the first phase in the second half of 2015, it had been Stefan Abrecht, the initiator of the voluntary collector label and General Manager of German company Solar Experience, who had issued the certificates.

Europe: Strategy on Heating and Cooling Launches in February 2016

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 21, 2015
Maroš Šefčovič (left) and Miguel Arias CañeteThe publication of the EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling (Heat Strategy) is now scheduled for February 2016, when it will be published as part of the winter (legislative) package comprising a revised Security of Gas Supply Regulation and an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas. The Heat Strategy was supposed to be already out on 18 November 2015. The consultation process is now over and the ENER C3 unit of the Directorate General (DG) of Energy is drafting the final version. The photos show the two most important heads of European energy strategies, both with a five-year term up to 2019: Maroš Šefčovič from Slovakia, Vice-President of the European Commission and in charge of the Energy Union (left), and Miguel Arias Cañete from Spain, the commissioner for Energy and Climate Action. 
Photos: EU Commission

European Union Sustainable Energy Week

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 15, 2015
The EU Sustainable Energy Week returns for its eleventh edition. From 13 to 17 June 2016, the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will take place in Brussels and across Europe. Launched in 2006 as an initiative of the European Commission, the EUSEW has become a reference point for public authorities, energy agencies, private companies, NGOs and industry associations engaged in helping to meet the EU’s energy and climate goals. In the coming weeks and months, the EUSEW website will be updated with useful information for both events’ organisers (Energy Days) and participants to plan their involvement in the forthcoming EUSEW. Every year EUSEW gathers hundreds of organisations and individuals. Through bottom-up efforts, organisers of EUSEW Energy Days, events and activities connect directly with citizens and energy stakeholders at the local, regional and national levels.

European Energy Labelling: Solar Manufacturers Have Doubts

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 27, 2015
Solrico energy labellingThere is great scepticism among Europe’s solar thermal collector manufacturers about whether or not the energy labelling will increase demand for solar thermal systems. In a survey carried out by German agency solrico, more than 50 % of the European solar thermal manufacturers disagreed with the statement “The energy labelling will foster your solar sales”. All in all, 158 solar collector and solar tank manufacturers in Europe answered the multiple-choice question (Do you agree with the following statement – The energy labelling will foster your solar sales?) by ticking one of five answers: strongly agree, agree, tend to agree, disagree and strongly disagree. The chart shows the results at national level. The figures in brackets display the number of valid answers from each country.
Chart: solrico

European R&D Programme Horizon 2020: Good Opportunities for Solar Thermal?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 3, 2015
Horizon 2020 budget sharesThe European Commission introduced its work programme 2016/2017 for the R&D funding programme Horizon 2020 during two info days in Brussels on 14 and 15 September. One of the first presentations was by Paul Verhoef, Head of the Renewable Energy Sources unit at the EU’s DG Research & Innovation, who showed that solar thermal has so far been gravely underfinanced during the 2014-2015 calls. The cumulated budget for solar heating and cooling was EUR 4.4 million out of a total of EUR 554 million, which means a share of less than 1 %. The pie chart, which depicts the allocation of the precisely EUR 553.8 million during 2014 and 2015, makes clear that energy sources such as ocean-based ones have received almost 10 times as much funding (EUR 41.4 million), and the Biofuels/Bioenergy sector has received an almost 20 times larger share of the total budget (EUR 83 million).
Source: DG Research & Innovation


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