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World’s largest flat plate collector manufacturers in 2017

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 19, 2018
The 2017 ranking of the world’s largest flat plate collector producers clearly shows the market dominance of Chinese companies. Even second-ranked Greenonetec, an Austrian collector manufacturer, is now majority-owned by the Chinese-based Haier Group. The corporation acquired 51 % of the manufacturer’s shares on 18 May 2017. The largest European flat plate collector producer was heating technology supplier Bosch Thermotechnik, although it remained at a certain distance from the top four. Business at Bosch Thermotechnik suffered from declining solar hot water markets in Germany (-16 %) and Brazil (-18 %). Nearly all the companies outside Germany increased production last year.
Source: Data supplied by manufacturers

Thermosiphon market rebounds in Italy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 16, 2018
Photo: Riccardo BattistiSystem suppliers and importers in Italy have reported significant growth in thermosiphon sales in 2017 thanks to the national support scheme Conto Termico 2.0. “Compared to the previous year, we more than doubled the number of thermosiphon units we sold in Italy in 2017, and most systems had a larger collector area because of the level of subsidies from Conto Termico 2.0,” said Export Sales Manager Andreas Andrianopoulos from Greek-based solar thermal manufacturer Cosmosolar. 
Photo: Riccardo Battisti

District heating shows lower total socio-economic cost in future energy system

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 31, 2018
Costs for ST 1What would the economic impact on a future energy system be if one were to unlock the full solar thermal potential in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Italy? According to a study conducted by Aalborg University as part of the IEA SHC Task 52 research project Solar Heat and Energy Economics in Urban Environments, exploiting the maximum potential will result in significant cost reductions if solar heat is supplied not individually but by district heating. The graph shows small changes of between -0.1 % and +0.2 % in total socio-economic cost both in the District Heating scenario (expansion of district heating grids) and the Heat Savings one (retrofits reduce heat demand in buildings) when the maximum solar thermal potential is realised by using either decentralised solutions or district heating to supply heat to consumers. The key factor influencing the outcome is the cost of solar thermal systems. 
Graph: Aalborg University

Three ways to read European market statistics

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 27, 2018
Solar Heat EuropeThere is more than one way to read 2016’s market statistics published by Solar Heat Europe about 2 months ago. One could emphasise the great achievements made in reducing emissions and creating jobs in the solar heating and cooling sector in Europe. One could likewise point to Denmark as a leader in solar district heating. A third possibility would be to concentrate on the continued decline in most key markets in Europe and the stark difference between renewable heating targets and their fulfilment in many countries. You can download the 5-page brochure here.

Solar thermal plays minor role in Italy’s energy strategy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 15, 2017
SEN LogoSolar thermal had been mentioned in only five lines in the first draft of Italy’s National Energy Strategy in June 2017, before public consultation took place. The aim of the document has been to set objectives and provide scenarios for national energy supply and demand until 2030. The country’s Ministry of Economic Development, which developed the Strategia Energetica Nazionale (SEN), received more than 1,000 comments in June and September 2017 and published its final version on 10 November 2017 (find both documents attached). Though the strategy paper contains promising renewable and energy efficiency targets, solar thermal – and heating and cooling in general – will continue to play second fiddle to natural gas.

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.


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