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California Solar Initiative dominated by multi-family houses

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 25, 2018
Source: California Public Utilities CommissionIn 2017, the California Solar Initiative (CSI) – Thermal Program supported the installation of 20,000 m² of collector area, a 20 % increase over the prior year. With 10,832 m², or four times the area installed in 2016, multi-family buildings dominated the subsidy landscape for those 12 months. The surge was a result of a temporary increase in the incentive amount, from USD 29.85 per therm displaced to USD 70, granted across the service area of Southern California Gas Company. The chart, for which data has been supplied by the California Public Utilities Commission, shows the collector area subsidised and installed from 2010 to 2017.
Source: California Public Utilities Commission

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
 

California gets 850 MW solar steam plant for enhanced oil recovery

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 18, 2017
MiraahWhile Miraah in Oman (see photo) has only recently begun its solar steam production, US-based Glasspoint has already announced plans to construct another solar plant for enhanced oil recovery. Together with Aera Energy, the company intends to build an 850 MW solar steam-producing plant at the Belridge oilfields just outside Bakersfield, north of Los Angeles, California. In combination with a 26.5 MW PV system, solar energy is expected to save 4.87 billion ft³ of natural gas annually. A Glasspoint press release sent out on 30 November said that construction should start in the first half of 2019 and steam was planned to be produced by the system at the beginning of 2020. 
Photo: Glasspoint 
 

USA: Solar Steam Installation for California’s Pistachio Harvest

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 10, 2017
SunvaporCalifornian start-up Sunvapor has found its first solar steam customer for a demonstration system with the Green Parabolic Trough Collector technology developed in-house. In April 2017, it announced that it had gone into partnership with Horizon Nut to install a 50-kW solar process heat installation at the latter’s pistachio processing facility in Firebaugh. Sunvapor’s CEO and founder Philip Gleckman confirmed that the system is scheduled to come online at the end of this year. The fluid heated to 230 °C is said to be used for pasteurising, blanching and roasting pistachios. Horizon Nut is a growers’ cooperative which collectively processes about 70 % of the pistachios in California. The photo shows a laboratory prototype of the parabolic trough collector with the wooden mounting system. This prototype was used to validate the structural model.
Photo: Sunvapor
 

USA: Concerted Actions in California and New York

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 23, 2017
SEIA USAIt will require concerted actions by the industry to keep solar heating and cooling on the agenda of politicians and administrators of incentive programmes in the United States. The Californian solar industry achieved a partial victory in mid-May, when the state assembly approved the extension of rebates for gas-replacing solar thermal systems under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) - Solar Thermal by 2.5 years, even though the industry had called for five. On the east coast, negotiations with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) are still underway for a follow-up of the statewide solar water heater rebate programme, which ended in December 2016. In a policy paper published this February, NYSERDA announced it would make USD 15 million available to incentivise ground-source heat pumps, whereas rebates for solar water heaters were not planned. 
Image: Solar Energy Industries Association
 

USA: Commercial Systems Dominate Californian Solar Thermal Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 24, 2017
California Incentive ProgrammeThe California Solar Initiative (CSI) – Thermal Program seems to have stabilised at around 20,000 m² (or around 200,000 ft²) of subsidised collector area per year. Commercial applications dominate the statistics, although there was a spike in the share of residential systems in 2016. The peak in applications for commercial pool heating in 2014 was due to the late addition of this type of system to the state subsidy scheme. It took almost a year before the level of incentives and other requirements were set, so that all the applications piling up over that period had to be processed in 2014. The data in the chart was provided by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and shows the subsidised and installed collector area for each year.
Source: CPUC
 

USA/California: CALSEIA´s New President Promises to “Keep SHC on the Agenda”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 16, 2017
The California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) named Ed Murray, a solar expert with more than 30 years of experience in the field, its new president in early January 2017. He succeeded Rick Reed, Director of California-based collector manufacturer Sunearth. Murray, a 25-year member of CALSEIA, is President of Aztec Solar, a solar heating and solar electricity system supplier from Sacramento, California. “He’s the right person to lead CALSEIA in the uncertain times ahead,” reads the press release sent the day after the election. “I attend meetings in the states and in Washington DC to make sure that SHC is kept on the agenda and not completely overshadowed by solar PV,” Murray describes his commitment to solar thermal. The photo shows Murray (right) and Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the California State Assembly.
Photo: CALSEIA
 

California: San Francisco Passes First Mandate with Solar Thermal Option

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 14, 2016
LuminaltAfter Lancaster, Sebastopol and Santa Monica, San Francisco is now the fourth – and the largest – US American city to mandate the use of solar energy in residential and commercial newbuilds. It also has the first mandate in California which can be complied with by using either solar thermal or photovoltaics. The other three cities stipulated the installation of a PV generator at newly developed premises. The mandate in San Francisco aims at owners of new residential and non-residential buildings who apply for a building permit on or after 1 January 2017. The photo shows the typical multi-storey building structure and density of San Francisco. 
Photo: Luminalt
 

USA: Extended Tax Credits for Weak Solar Thermal Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 24, 2016
CalseiaAgainst all odds, the solar heating tax credits in the USA were extended again by 5 years. On 18 December 2015, the Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed, including an extension of the so-called federal Investment Tax Credits up to 2021. Originally, the tax incentives were expected to end on 31 December 2016 after an eleven-year period since 2005, with one previous extension in 2008. They allow both residential and commercial investors of solar PV and solar thermal systems to deduct 30 % of the investment costs at the next tax declaration.
Photo: Calseia.org

USA: Ups and Downs of Californian Incentive Levels and Application Numbers

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 25, 2015
USA California StatisticsIf there were an award for the most transparent support programme in the field of solar heating and cooling, then the California Solar Initiative (CSI) – Thermal Program would get the prize. The CSI-T programme offers a regularly updated and publicly available Excel file of all submitted, approved and paid applications, and this file also includes an amazing amount of additional information, such as collector size, system supplier, contractor for the installation, total project costs or the application itself. The chart above, provided by Lewis Bichkoff, Lead Analyst of the CSI Thermal Program at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), shows the subsidised and installed collector area per year. The annual volume shows significant growth from 953 m² (10,247 ft²) installed and granted during the first year to 36,641 m² (394,401 ft²) in 2014. In 2014, there was a noticeable dominance of pool heating systems, which made up 71 % of the total subsidised collector area.
Chart: CPUC
 

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