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Switzerland

Miraah in Oman: “Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 25, 2017
GlasspointReplacing gas with sunshine for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is a cost-effective solution. This is the key message of US-based company Glasspoint, which has mobilised the biggest investment ever in a solar steam-producing unit in Oman. State-owned Petroleum Development Oman is building a concentrating solar thermal collector field called Miraah next to the Amal West oilfield. Once complete, it will generate more than a gigawatt of solar thermal power to drive EOR operations – saving Oman about 5.6 trillion BTUs of natural gas each year. 
Photo: Glasspoint
 

Switzerland: Borehole Storage Regeneration as Solar Thermal’s Ray of Hope

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 22, 2016
Solarwärme SchweizOn 24 November, the fifth Solar Heat Switzerland (Solarwärme Schweiz) conference organised by the solar industry association Swissolar, the building services association suissetec and the Federal Office of Energy was held in Lucerne, Switzerland. As 2017 funding for solar heat incentives remains in doubt in several cantons and the priorities of the country´s energy policy haven’t been announced yet, the market outlook for solar thermal has not been very encouraging. But there seems to be a ray of hope in the form of low-temperature collectors for borehole regeneration and solar district heating. Click here to download the German-language presentations from the conference.
Photo: Swissolar
 

IEA SHC: New PVT System Enhancement Research

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 20, 2016
PVT Optimisation ChartAfter seven years, the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) is planning to launch another international research cooperation on PVT technology. PVT includes panels which combine photovoltaics and solar thermal into one unit either as glazed or unglazed systems. The first and only task on PVT systems was completed in June 2010. The new one, entitled Application of PVT Collectors and New Solutions with PVT Systems, is in the definition phase. It is expected to start in July 2017 and run for 3.5 years. Interested researchers and industry representatives have been invited to attend a two-day workshop at ETH university in Zurich, Switzerland, from 16 March (1 p.m.) to 17 March (12 a.m.) in order to discuss crucial aspects and the structure of the global initiative.
Chart: Jean-Christophe Hadorn, Swiss energy consultant, contracted by the SFOE, Switzerland
 

Europe: ESTIF Publishes Comprehensive Market Analysis

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 1, 2016
ESTIFLast year, the amount of newly installed glazed collector area added up to 2.7 million m² (1.9 GWth) in the European Union’s E28 and Switzerland combined. It is another decline compared to the previous year, this time by 7 %. The annual market statistics of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) show 23,700 people to have been employed by the solar thermal sector Europe-wide, whereas turnover was EUR 1.9 billion overall. The four-page market survey published in November includes the country-specific figures of all 28 EU countries and Switzerland. Most of the data was provided by national associations, energy agencies or industry companies, although the markets of six smaller countries were estimated by the ESTIF team. The survey can be downloaded by filling in a form on the organisation’s website. A full report will be available to ESTIF members in early December.
Figure: ESTIF
 

IEA SHC Task 56: “Facade-integrated HVAC components pose a Challenge for all parties involved”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 22, 2016
Eurac ResearchThe integration of solar facade solutions into the HVAC and lighting system of a building can only be successful if it is coordinated with architects and building engineers. A good forum to get in touch with architecture professionals is the annual Advanced Building Skins Conference (ABS) in Switzerland. The 2016 edition, which took place from 11 to 13 October, also included a session by the researchers of Building Integrated Solar Envelope Systems for HVAC and Lighting, which is the name of Task 56 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. Swiss Advanced Building Skins, the organiser of the event, reported that 520 experts attended this year’s global forum to listen to presentations during six parallel session blocks.
Photo: Eurac Research
 

12th Conference on Advanced Building Skins, Bern

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 16, 2016
The aim of the Conference on Advanced Building Skins, which will take place in Bern from 2 to 3 October 2017, is to contribute to a multidisciplinary, integrated planning approach by architects, engineers, scientists and manufacturers to reduce energy consumption of buildings. By fostering lively exchange between these groups, this conference will shed light on the significance of the building skin, with a view to putting scientific know-how into practice.
 

Spain: EuroSun 2016 Focuses on Complete Solar Systems

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 27, 2016
Wolfgang Streicher; Eicke Weber; Victor Martinez MollFrom 11 to 14 October, more than 300 experts in solar energy met in Palma de Mallorca for the EuroSun 2016 conference. Organised by the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) in cooperation with the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB), the conference is attended mainly by scientists and industry stakeholders from the solar heating and cooling sector. But for the first time, speakers also included well-known specialists from the photovoltaics sector. Two panel discussions illustrated the wide range of opinions on solar heat and solar electricity market development and the technologies' competitors. The photo shows Professor Eicke Weber (middle), newly elected Vice President of ISES and Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) based in Freiburg, Germany, and two of the three conference chairs: Professor Wolfgang Streicher (left) from the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and Professor Víctor Martínez Moll (right) from the UIB.
Photo: Eva Augsten
 

IEA SHC: Cost Reduction Analysis Workshops at German University of Stuttgart

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 8, 2016
Task54 Brussels WorkshopSystem cost reduction is one of the most urgent challenges of the solar thermal sector, especially in central Europe. The aim of Task 54 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme, Price Reduction of Solar Thermal Systems, is to lower solar heat prices by up to 40 %. Germany’s main scientific contributions to the task have come from the two research projects KoST and TEWIsol, which have been co-funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The corresponding Task 54 meeting will take place in Stuttgart on 6/7 October (see the attached programme) in conjunction with a workshop on 5 October to present and discuss KoST and TEWIsol (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; held in German). The photo shows the Task 54 workshop organised in collaboration with the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation in Brussels in May 2016.
Photo: Fraunhofer ISE
 

Conferences with Clear SHC Focus in Second Half of 2016

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 1, 2016
EventsUsually, the period between September and December is a popular time for holding conferences and fairs. This year is no different. Below, you will find a number of international events dedicated to solar heating and cooling in different corners of the globe. You can also go to the calendar of events for a more comprehensive list of what’s happening during the second half of 2016.
Photo: Stephanie Banse
 

Switzerland: PVT System Output Reaches 330 kWhth/m² on Top of 163 kWhel/m²

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 29, 2016
PVT OberfeldCrystalline PV modules utilise only 12 to 15 % of the incoming sunlight, while the rest is usually treated as waste heat. Hybrid solar panels, also called PVT elements, will channel this unused low-temperature heat, as shown by a large-scale demonstration plant in Switzerland. The PVT system’s 1,300 m² are used to regenerate a borehole field in a Swiss multi-family housing area. Monitoring data of the system’s first year in operation between August 2014 and July 2015 resulted in an annual thermal yield of 330 kWh/m² in addition to the 163 kWh/m² of electricity produced by the PV modules, according to a statement made by researchers from the Swiss SPF – Institute of Solar Technology earlier this year. The borehole field serves as the energy source for the heat pumps, which supply hot water all-the-year and space heating in winter. Most probably, the recommendations that the SPF researchers made to optimise the system in a paper published in May 2016 will even lead to a higher thermal yield during the installation’s second year. 
Photo: SPF Rapperswil
 

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