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Italy: Solar District Heating Shows Few Installations but Good Prospects

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 11, 2017
Ambiente ItaliaSubstantial solar resources and a generous incentive scheme called Conto Termico 2.0: Perfect conditions, it seems, for the widespread use of solar district heating. But barriers such as a low gas price and the concentration of district heating in a small part of Italy have so far limited deployment to a few installed systems. The map shows the three existing SDH plants in Varese, Sansicario and Lodi (red circles). A fourth with a gross area of about 600 m² is expected to come online in 2020 to feed heat into Turin’s district network operated by the Iren Group utility (yellow cirle).
Source: Ambiente Italia

Solar District Heating: How to Tackle Land Use Issues

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 11, 2017
SDH double useUsually, solar district heating (SDH) plants require large fields for collector installations, which has raised concerns at local level because of competing land uses and a system’s potential visual impact on the surroundings. One way out of this dilemma is to combine heat generation and fruit and vegetable harvest (see illustration). As part of SDHp2m…From Policy to Market, a Horizon 2020 project, some regions are looking to create regulations based on best practice examples of land use or spatial heat planning. This article will present showcases from the Styria region in Austria, Hamburg in Germany and Valle d’Aosta in Italy (see also the attached fact sheets).
Graphic: Hamburg Institut Research
 

IEA SHC Task 52: Solar Thermal’s Role in 2050 Energy Mix

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 29, 2017
Collector Installation in HamburgWhat role solar thermal will play in the energy sector in 2050 is one of the principal questions that the international Task 52 research project Solar Heat and Energy Economics in Urban Environments intends to answer. As part of this IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme task, Denmark’s Aalborg University chose four major solar thermal countries in Europe – Austria, Denmark, Germany and Italy – to model their 2050 solar share in national heat production. The university’s estimates range from 3 to 12 % based on country and scenario, which would require 4 to 175 million m² of collector area in each of the four nations. The solar share of all four was rather similar in high penetration scenarios, although climate, energy demand and network design vary significantly. That’s why the researchers from Aalborg concluded that “the findings can be applied to a variety of energy systems, including in countries that are not directly part of this study.” They also underlined the importance solar thermal could have in reducing pressure on scarce resources such as biomass.
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

Italy: 10,000 m² ORC-Connected Fresnel and Parabolic Trough Fields

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 19, 2017
Fresnel Collector Field ItalyItaly’s feed-in tariff for medium-size concentrating solar power plants has supported the installation of a 10,000 m² Fresnel collector array in Sardinia (see photo). The mirrors have been in operation since spring this year and are connected to an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) unit with 600 kW of nominal electric power. Construction for a second demonstration system, a 5 MWth parabolic trough field linked to an ORC turbine, is currently underway in Sicily. Both installations heat thermal oil to between 250 and 300 °C and use it to transfer heat directly from the solar panels to the ORC units by Italian-based Turboden, bringing their electrical efficiency to up to 25 %.
Photo: CSP-F (FERA Group)
 

Italy: 6,820 Municipalities Report Solar Thermal Use

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 21, 2017
Legambiente Report TitleIn 2005, Legambiente, the largest environmental association in Italy, began publishing an annual report called Comuni Rinnovabili to show renewable deployment in Italian municipalities. The number of communities which had solar thermal installations increased from 108 in 2005 to 6,820 in this year’s edition, which is based on 2016 figures. Data is collected by sending a questionnaire directly to the municipalities and cross-checking the responses with official figures from GSE, the state-owned business managing renewable incentive schemes in Italy, and information and reports sent in by regional and industry associations and individual companies. Less populated municipalities are doing well in these statistics: Of the 6,820 communities which reported solar thermal installations, 4,454 are small and very small ones with a population below 5,000.
 

Denmark: Concentrating Solar Collectors for District Heat in Northern Europe

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 11, 2017
BronderslevBrønderslev, a Danish municipality with a population of 12,500, is setting up a multi-purpose renewable heat plant for their district heating network. So far, local utility Brønderslev Forsyning has been operating seven gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants and two gas boilers to produce 130 GWh of heat each year. In the future, most of the yearly district heating demand is planned to be met by a new Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) unit which receives its energy from two wood chip boilers with 10 MW each and from a 16.6 MWth parabolic trough collector field with a mirror area of 27,000 m². 
Photo: Aalborg CSP
 

IEA-RETD: Lessons Learned from 21 Renewable Projects in Industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 28, 2017
Case Study MapThree years after the International Renewable Energy Agency underlined in its June 2014 Renewable Energy in Manufacturing study the great potential for using renewables in industry, the International Energy Agency has published a comprehensive report on the same topic. It is titled Fostering renewable energy integration in the industry and consists of several documents divided into two parts: a review of 21 case studies on renewable systems integrated into industrial processes and a policy section identifying eight issues which may attract or deter industrial stakeholders intending to deploy renewable production assets at their facilities. Commissioned by the IEA Renewable Energy Technology Deployment Program (IEA-RETD), the publication was lead-authored by French-based ENEA Consulting. It is one of the milestones towards an IEA Insights Paper on Renewables in Industry planned to come out in November 2017. 
Source: IEA-RETD
 

IEA Task 51: Challenges in Urban Planner Education

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 27, 2017
Task 51 MapCities and large municipalities all around the world have taken the lead in sustainability, and urban planners find themselves in the important position of having to devise solutions for integrating renewable and energy efficiency measures at local level. Each city has its own unique set of resources and pattern of energy use. But as solar energy is available everywhere to some extent, there will be an urgent need to develop the expertise and skills of solar industry stakeholders in urban planning. Researchers from the IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme’s Task 51, Solar Energy in Urban Planning, have examined the educational offerings of universities and colleges in nine partner countries (Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland), identified gaps in knowledge and designed solutions to overcome them. 
 

Italy: New Solar Cooling Systems and Opportunities

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 7, 2017
MayaGovernment incentives have been pushing solar cooling forwards in Italy. The large budget available for national incentive scheme Conto Termico 2.0 has made several service providers optimistic about the future of the Italian market. For example, Mario Colaiemma from Maya, the European distributor of Japanese Yazaki chillers, said that “Italy was the key market for our solar thermal-driven chillers in 2016.” The photo shows a typical solar cooling system based on slightly below 50 m² of vacuum tube collectors connected to a 17.6 kW chiller. It was installed in Sicily, also home to two solar cooling plants by German chiller manufacturer Fahrenheit (formerly Sortech). Gregor Feig, Head of Sales at Fahrenheit, said in March 2017 that “two sorption cooling systems were put into operation in data centres in Enna and Caltanissetta, in the very sunny region of Sicily. Two more systems have been delivered, but haven’t gone online yet.”
Photo: Maya 
 

Switzerland: Rising Interest in PVT Technologies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 1, 2017
PVT CaotecThe Swiss-based SPF - Institute of Solar Technology has recently published a report on behalf of EnergieSchweiz, a programme by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, about the market situation of PV-thermal technologies (PVT) in Switzerland and across all of Europe (see attached document in German). The researchers from SPF have found that there are various market-ready and proven products available. They counted around 300 PVT installations in Switzerland alone. A particularly good example is shown on the photo: a PVT installation integrated into the facade of an office building. 
Photo: Caotec
 

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