Professor Vitaly A. Butuzov is one of Russia’s well-known experts on solar heating and cooling. He is professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Heat and Renewable Energy of Kuban State Agrarian University in Krasnodar, the capital of the region which bears its name. This region is one of the main economic centres in southern Russia. Additionally, Butuzov is Director of Krasnodar Power Technologies, which offers solar thermal systems in combination with geothermal units and energy efficiency projects. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with him about market development in Russia.
Russian airport operator Basel Aero, which is part of Russian financial conglomerate Basic Elements, is planning additional installations of solar collectors at airports managed by the company in Anapa, Gelendzhik and Krasnodar near the Black Sea, according to a March 2016 press release. The enterprise has devoted special attention to environmental issues: It had already had a solar collector system installed on the roof of the Sochi airport in 2014, before the start of the Olympic Winter Games. The new terminal in Anapa will also be built using energy-saving technologies and eco-friendly materials.
According to the announcements by the Crimean Ministry of Industry Policy, the peninsula should get its first solar collector production unit soon. The government has plans to establish a solar collector and heat pump factory in the industrial area of Feodossija, an article on the Kryminform website from 6 November 2015 stated, referring to a press release by the former Crimea’s Minister of Industrial Policy, Andrei Skrynnik. The largest local solar water heater supplier Afros imports collectors from neighbouring countries and focus on system installations. The photo shows one of the solar references from the Afros website, a residential installation in Alupka, near the peninsula’s southern coastline.
It is said to be the largest solar thermal plant in Russia: 2,200 collector modules by German heating boiler manufacturer Bosch Thermotechnik have been installed next to a district heating system in Narimanov in the Astrakhan region in southwest Russia. The district heating plant includes 5 new gas boilers from Bosch Thermotechnik with a total of 30 MW. The complete state-of-the-art heat supply unit – gas and solar – was financed by Astrakhan’s regional government. It was commissioned in October 2012 and inaugurated in June 2013 after a fairly short planning time. The existing district heating system with separate pipes for hot water and space heating provides heat for the 11,600 inhabitants of Narimanov. The 4,400 m² collector field feeds into the hot water pipe system.
Moscow United Electric Grid Company, MOESK, an electric utility operating from Moscow, Russia, is planning to install solar combi systems on selected office buildings in Moscow and the adjacent region. The photo shows the first pilot project from October 2014, during which two vacuum tube collector units were installed on the roof of the customer service centre in Volokolamsk, a town in the Moscow region. Five additional solar hot water and space heating systems are planned for this year. The installations are supported by the governments of Moscow and the Moscow region, which have been simplifying permits and procedures for solar thermal system installations.
As the Russian solar thermal market relies a great deal on imported components, some regions have devised local subsidy schemes to develop their own solar thermal supply chain, according to the country’s Ministry of Industry and Trade. The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) at the far east of Russia is such a region: The federal state is almost as big as India, but has a population of fewer than 1 million, and the extremely harsh and dry climate results in average January temperatures of -28 to -47 °C. “We see great potential for solar thermal system suppliers in our region, which is we are trying to provide favourable conditions for the establishment of such companies,” Petr Shishigin, External Affairs Coordinator and Development Group Manager of the Yakutian Investment Development Agency, explains. Yakutia was also the first state of the Russian Federation to adopt a law on renewable energy.
Sometimes you happen to be in the right place at the right time - like Gerhard Pramer, who was at Munich’s Intersolar Europe at the beginning of June (photo on the left). The CEO of Austrian company Calus - Coated Aluminium Surface introduced his new selective coating pure.black just a few days after news of the merger between Alanod and Almeco broke. The exhibiting collector manufacturers listened carefully, given the fact that their new main supplier, Alanod-Almeco, will hold around three-fourth of the European absorber market. Calus has already begun pilot production and will be able to deliver prototypes of selectively coated aluminium sheets by July 2014. The company claims to start mass production in autumn of 2014.
Energy poverty is a widespread phenomenon throughout Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA). Many poor people living in these regions can hardly pay the ever-rising electricity costs. To heat their houses in winter, they are often forced to burn wood, diesel or any other thing they can find, such as plastic - with all the harmful impacts on the environment. “Switch to the sun – live in comfort!” is what activists of Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) tell them in such a situation. WECF, an international non-governmental network of women’s and environmental organisations, is committed to helping people in rural areas in the Ukraine, Georgia and other countries of the EECCA region gain a sustainable energy supply, mainly by utilising solar water heaters. The photo shows the participants of a workshop with the newly built solar water heater in the city of Kamensk-Uralsk, Russia.
Solarthermalworld.org spoke to important Russian flat plate collector manufacturers New Polus, Inten and Kassol about the current and future trends of the national solar thermal market. According to the industry, 2014 will be the year of change and market growth for solar thermal in Russia. Growth is expected in all market segments, because people have not yet committed themselves to one type of solar thermal technology. However, there is a lack of funds in the Russian state budget, which means companies will have to move away from public contracts and turn their attention to projects in the private sector. An important barrier to solar thermal growth in the residential sector is the reluctance of construction companies. The map, which shows the factory sites of the three companies, was part of the world map of the solar thermal industry published in the December issue of Sun & Wind Energy.
One of the organisations which have had experiences with RES leases over many years is the Austrian UniCredit Leasing. Josef Robert Straninger, Country Coordinator of the Competence Center Renewable Energies at UniCredit Leasing, explained at the SMEThermal conference in Berlin what steps are necessary to ensure the successful financing of large-scale projects (see the attached presentation). After the conference, solarthermalworld.org asked the expert about what he thought needed to be done and what he believed was important when financing a large-scale solar thermal plant in particular.
Photo: Stephanie Banse