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Record participation at SDH 2018 in Graz

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 3, 2018
Photo: Climate and Energy FundThe 5th International Solar District Heating Conference, which took place in Graz, Austria, in mid-April, brought together 350 experts from 33 countries. It had twice as many attendees as the previous one in Billund, Denmark, in 2016 and attracted representatives from several development banks, such as the German KfW, the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank via its group member International Finance Corporation, or IFC. The photo shows the conference’s supporters and its three organisers, namely Christian Fink (second from left), Austrian research institute AEE INTEC; Thomas Pauschinger (fifth from left in the back), German research institute Solites; and  Werner Lutsch, Managing Director of the German Heat & Power Association, or AGFW for short (second from right). 
Photo: Climate and Energy Fund

German associations partner up to promote sustainable cooling

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 27, 2018
Logos solar coolingIn early 2018, two German organisations agreed on a joint membership model to promote solar thermal air conditioning and cooling, a niche market in the country. The cooperation between the Green Chiller Association for Sorption Cooling and the Central Association for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps, or ZVKKW for short, is hoped to popularise innovative and sustainable cooling solutions. According to a survey among members of the Green Chiller Association, some companies have shifted away from solar-powered sorption cooling because they consider systems combining solar PV and split air conditioning units to have greater economic benefits, especially if the cooling season is short. Others are increasingly using waste heat to run sorption chillers. 

Solar industrial heat market – a 2017 survey

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 26, 2018
Image: solar-payback.com/suppliers2017 was a record year for systems providing solar heat for industrial processes, since at least 110 large ones adding up to 192,580 m² were put into operation. This has been the result of a survey among around 80 turnkey suppliers currently listed on the SHIP Supplier World Map, created by the international Solar Payback project. The total at the end of 2017 stood at approximately 635 SHIP systems, a 21 % increase over the 525 installations which a similar survey showed in early 2017.
Image: solar-payback.com/suppliers

World Sustainable Energy Days 2019, Wels

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 19, 2018
The World Sustainable Energy Days (WSED) are one of Europe’s largest annual conferences in this field. The 2019 conference will take place from 27 February to 1 March in Wels/Austria. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are key to boost the economic competitiveness of the EU, its member states, regions and individual businesses. Resulting economic growth provides jobs and the ability to invest in the further progress of the clean energy transition to the benefit of all citizens. Clean energy for economic competitiveness and how to make the clean energy transition work for business, planet and people will therefore be core themes of the World Sustainable Energy Days 2019. The event will feature policies, technology innovation and market development. It offers a unique combination of conferences and interactive events. The annual conference brings together more than 600 delegates from over 50 countries from business, public sector and the research community.

“Contract market fluctuates from year to year”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 17, 2018
Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark2017 was a difficult year for solar district heating supplier Arcon-Sunmark based in Denmark. The collector manufacturer’s turnover dropped from Danish Krone (DKK) 457 million, or USD 75 million, to DKK 98 million, or USD 16.2 million, according to a press release published on 21 March 2018. The uncertain country’s energy policy caused a delay in the launch of new SDH projects in the second half of 2016. Consequently, pre-tax profit went from DKK 46 million (USD 7.6 million) in 2016 to minus DKK 99 million (USD 16.3 million) in 2017. “We have made the necessary adjustments. At the same time, we have invested in retaining the clear market leader position that we achieved over the years,” Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark (see photo), said.

IEA SHC Webinar: Cost reduction potential above 30 %

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 5, 2018
Chart: AventaThe key takeaway from an IEA SHC Solar Academy webinar held on 14 March 2018: There is still much room for cost cuts along the entire solar thermal value chain. The webinar was organised jointly by the IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme’s Task 54 and the International Solar Energy Society.
Chart: Aventa

Big Solar Germany: Utility-scale solar heat at record-low 36 EUR/MWh

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 3, 2018
Christian HolterOperators of several gas-driven combined cycle power plants, or CCPPs, have notified the German Federal Network Agency of their systems’ final shutdown. These plants are no longer economically viable, as they have been running ever fewer hours because of a high proportion of cost-effective renewable grid electricity. Their shutdown will create a shortage of supply in district heating networks providing thermal energy to German municipalities. Utility-scale solar thermal plants equipped with seasonal storage could help close the gap at heat prices of around 36 EUR/MWh, Christian Holter said. Holter is the Managing Director of Austrian turnkey system supplier S.O.L.I.D., which has carried out feasibility studies on behalf of several European cities.

NPV, IRR and DDP: The language of bankers and investors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 27, 2018
Chart: Patrick ReiterIndustry professionals often do not use the same language as bankers and investors when they present solar thermal projects. We have asked Patrick Reiter, who has just finished his master’s thesis, titled Solar District Heating – Economic feasibility of large-scale solar thermal systems in municipal district heating networks – a case from Austria, to explain the most important words and key performance indicators, or KPIs, for the financial feasibility assessment of large-scale solar thermal plants. He studied for his master’s degree at the University of Graz’s Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research. 
Chart: Patrick Reiter

Solar thermal and biomass – a winning solution for district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 18, 2018
Photo: Riccardo BattistiBiomass may be cheap and carbon-neutral, but a solar upgrade of biomass-fired district heating could further improve efficiency and reduce local emissions. For example, solar heat helps avoid having to start up and shut down wood-chip boilers or operate them at partial load. It can even replace backup fossil fuel systems, which provide district heating networks with energy in summer. During a December 2017 webinar, held as part of the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…From Policy to Market, experts from Sweden and Austria showed promising case studies for a clever combination of biomass and solar thermal in district heating.
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

Sonnenkraft, Holter and Tisun – the changing face of Austria’s industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 26, 2018
Photo: Thomas PirkerTwo strategic decisions taken by Austrian-based supplier Sonnenkraft in early 2018 have strengthened its position on the market. First, it secured an exclusive national distribution agreement with Holter, an Austrian wholesaler of heating equipment. Installers of Sonnenkraft equipment can now order products and systems on digital sales portal Holter online as opposed to getting them directly from the company. Second, on 4 December 2017, the supplier acquired the remaining 49 % stake in Austrian collector manufacturer Tisun, a competitor from which it had already purchased 51 % of the shares in May 2017. On 5 February 2018, the new owner asked for Tisun to be put into administration and an insolvency practitioner is now leading the restructuring effort. 
Photo: Thomas Pirker

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