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Lithuania: Can Solar Thermal Beat Low Biomass Heat Prices?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 14, 2017
Lithuania District HeatingWith biomass prices on the rise, solar district heating could become profitable in Lithuania. But without investment grants, payback periods were still too long, it said in the conclusion of a 2015 SDH market study by LEI, the Lithuanian Energy Institute (see the attached document in Lithuanian). The photo shows the country’s first SDH system set up in 2011. Installed on the roof of the boiler house, it preheats water for a wood chip boiler in the district heating station of Dūkštas, a town in eastern Lithuania. The demonstration unit with 82 m² of vacuum tube collectors received funding from international organisations.
Photo: Lithuanian Energy Institute
 

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 (10 MW each) producing 17 MWth and 3 MWel and from a 16.6 MWth parabolic trough collector field with a mirror area of 27,000 m². 
Photo: Aalborg CSP
 

Solar Thermal Shows Highest Energy Yield Per Square Metre

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 31, 2017
Area Yield ComparisonThe annual energy yield per square metre is much higher for solar collectors than for other renewable technologies, as the figure on the left shows. Compared to PV, solar collectors produce, on average, three times as many kilowatt-hours. Compared to biomass or bioethanol, output is in average as much as 43 times their yield. The chart shows end energy production and compares directly thermal and electric kilowatt-hours. The grey part of each bar marks the deviation in yield based on different estimates. The absolute values can be found in a table at the bottom of this article.
Source: Fraunhofer ISE, PlanEnergi and Chalmers University
 

Egypt and Jordan: SHAMCI to Give New Impetus to Arab Markets

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 13, 2017
SHAMCI Workshop May 2017The implementation of SHAMCI, the Solar Heating Arab Mark and Certification Initiative, could help expand the solar thermal market in both Egypt and Jordan. On 15 and 16 May 2017, a workshop held at the headquarters of RCREEE (Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) and on the premises of NREA (New and Renewable Energy Authority of Egypt) in Cairo offered experts, market observers and stakeholders from both countries a platform to discuss requirements for implementing SHAMCI at national level. Solarthermalworld.org spoke to Lotus Shaheen, who works at SHAMCI’s secretariat, about the results of the workshop and the next steps by the regional initiative.
Photo: RCREEE
 

China: Sunrain Finalises Strategic Cooperation Agreements

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 30, 2017
Natural Ressources CanadaThe Chinese Sunrain group, the world’s biggest collector manufacturer, is broadening its product portfolio to include large-scale solar thermal plants. Sunrain had already made the first step towards globalising its strategic partnerships by establishing a joint venture with Danish-based Arcon-Sunmark in June 2016. It has now concluded a cooperation agreement with CanmetEnergy in Canada with the aim to develop solar district heating systems using borehole heat storage fields for seasonal storage in China. Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr (back row 2nd from left) oversaw the signing of the agreement during his visit to China in June 2017. The agreement was signed by Xinjian Xu, Founder and Board Chair of Sunrain Solar Energy (front right) and Frank Des Rosiers, Assistant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada’s Innovation and Energy Technology (front left).
Photo: Natural Ressources Canada
 

Global Status Report 2017: Key SHC Data on Markets and Policy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 22, 2017
GSR 2017 SHC ChapterREN21’s Renewables 2017 Global Status Report (GSR) shows how the 20 largest solar thermal markets in the world developed in 2016 (see the chart on the left). Significant growth was reported from Denmark (84 %), Mexico and India (6 % each). Except for the Danish market, last year was a challenging one for key European sales countries because of factors such as low oil and gas prices, declining demand from homeowners and reduced interest in solar thermal among installers. Consequently, there has been a notable decrease in market size in Poland (-58 %), France (-35 %), Austria (-19 %) and Germany (-8 %). The GSR 2017 was first presented at the beginning of June during the Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing. 
Chart: GSR 2017
 

IEA SHC: Solar Heat Worldwide Highlights Remarkable Achievements and Addresses Challenges

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 2, 2017
Solar Heat Worldwide TitleIn late May, the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) published its annual report titled Solar Heat Worldwide (see the attached document). It is the most comprehensive study of solar heating and cooling markets around the globe and has been referenced by international organisations such as REN21 and IRENA. Based on data from 66 countries, the most recent report has grown from 76 pages in 2016 to 86 in 2017. It includes a new section which highlights last years’ encouraging market development of megawatt systems for solar district heating and solar process heat and a second part providing in-depth figures about the national and global markets of 2015.
 

IEA Task 55: Solar District Heating Means Big Business

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 23, 2017
Task 55Solar district heating is attractive business. Not only does this become obvious when looking at the 347 MWth of newly installed SDH capacity in Denmark in 2016, but also when one hears about Big Solar, a 250 MWth collector field – with 1.8 million m² of seasonal storage – planned to cover 20 % of the energy demand in the Austrian city of Graz by 2020. It certainly explains the high interest in international research platform Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into DHC Networks, or Task 55 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. “We welcomed 33 participants from eight countries during our second project meeting in Aalborg in mid-March, and even had to limit the number of participants per company because of the huge demand,” explained Sabine Putz, Operating Agent of Task 55 and COO and Head of R&D at S.O.L.I.D.
Photo: AALBORG CSP
 

IEA SHC: How to Turn Historic Structures into Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 17, 2017
Villa CastelliMore than one-fourth of all residential buildings in Europe date from before 1945. Over the past decade, preservationists have taken to the idea of renovating historic structures in an energy-efficient manner. The planned IEA SHC task titled Deep Renovation of Historic Buildings Towards Lowest Possible Energy Demand and CO2 Emission intends to find the best solutions to this challenge. The photo shows the Villa Castelli at Lake Como in Italy. The energy requirements of the building have been reduced and the remaining demand has been met by a heat pump and PV-generated electricity. 
Photo: Oscar Stuffer, Solarraum
 

Netherlands: Solar Thermal Benefits from SDE+ Solar Heat Tariff

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 1, 2017
District Heating Workshop NetherlandsIn the Netherlands, solar district heating plants with a capacity of 140 kWth or above can benefit from a feed-in tariff scheme called SDE+, which pays a certain amount per kWh of energy. Under the scheme, operators of renewable energy plants can apply for a subsidy to bridge the gap between market price and cost of energy production. Consequently, interest was high when a workshop about solar district heating (SDH) took place in mid-April 2017. It attracted around 50 people from the district heating and the solar thermal industry, consulting businesses and the government. Organised jointly by Dutch district heating organisation Warmtenetwerk, Holland Solar and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO.nl, the workshop featured a presentation on SDH in Denmark – held by Jan Erik Nielsen from PlanEnergi and based on results from Task 45 and 55 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme – and provided information about the national subsidy scheme, thermal storage technologies as well as the only DH plant in operation in the Netherlands to date.
Photo: Netherlands Enterprise Agency 
 

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