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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

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 goes digital

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 3, 2018
WorkshopOn 14 December 2017, members of industry associations Austria Solar and BSW-Solar met founders of start-ups to draw up digital strategies for solar thermal. One of the key findings from the one-day workshop in Vienna, Austria, was that “traditional solar thermal companies cannot take on this task alone. They will have to partner with start-ups to explore and utilise the potential that digitalisation has for their business,” Roger Hackstock, Managing Director of Austria Solar, said.
Photo: Austria Solar
 

French PVT market is picking up

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 22, 2017
DualsunThe IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme will create its own international research platform on PVT systems in January 2018. Researchers and industry representatives from 13 countries so far will then start evaluating new PVT systems for HVAC solutions. This IEA SHC task, which is planned to run until the end of 2020, is being announced at a time when the PVT market in several European countries, such as France and Switzerland, is picking up speed. Experts with an R&D or manufacturing background are welcome to join the platform (see the contact details at the end of this news article). 
Photo: Dualsun
 

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