You are here


SOLAR 2017, Denver

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 28, 2016
SOLAR 2017 is the American Solar Energy Society’s 46th annual National Solar Conference. It will be held at the University of Colorado, Denver, October 9 to 12, 2017. It will include technical sessions, forum discussions, plenary panels, workshops, fast-paced switch~ presentations, public solar displays, and networking events.

IEA Medium-Term Report: Solar Heating and Cooling Not on Track for 2 °C Scenario

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 15, 2016
MTRMR 2016The IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report or MTRMR 2016 again includes a chapter on renewable heating and cooling – and it’s growing in size. The 282-page document published from Singapore on 25 October analyses on 47 pages the current and future market development of four renewable heating technologies: biomass, solar thermal, geothermal and heat pumps. The IEA began to add a renewable heating chapter to its MTRMR in 2013 – back then, it had only 14 pages. The authors of this year’s edition emphasise the fact that onshore wind and solar PV are the only renewable technologies on track for a 2 °C target.

USA: Californian Solar Process Heat Potential and Gas Price Competitiveness

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 19, 2016
Researchers at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have observed a renewed interest in solar process heat applications in recent years, mainly thanks to “the improvement and proliferation of solar collectors for electricity generation and the development of sophisticated solar collector modelling tools.” Last year, two of those researchers – Parthiv Kurup and Craig Turchi – conducted a study on the potential of solar process heat provided by concentrating collector technologies in California (see the attached document). This study, entitled Initial Investigation into the Potential of CSP Industrial Process Heat for the Southwest United States, was supported by the US Department of Energy and was published in November 2015. The chart taken from it shows the annual energy use of steam in industry segments which utilise the largest amount of gas. The study’s authors found the temperature range from about 120 to 220 °C to be of great interest, as it enables the use of concentrating optics and of water as the heat transfer fluid. 
Chart: Page 22 of the attached study

Solar Power International 2017, Las Vegas

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 23, 2016
Solar Power International (SPI) is a large solar conference and expo. In 2015 SPI attracted over 15,000 attendees from more than 75 countries. The 2017 event will take place from 10 to 13 September in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Conference and expo cover the topics PV, CSP, solar hot water, solar heating and cooling and solar pool heating.

Intersolar North America 2017, San Francisco

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 6, 2016
Intersolar North America will take place from 11 to 13 July 2017 at the Mocone Center, San Francisco. Exhibition and conference promote the development of business opportunities throughout the U.S. solar industry. The 2016 exhibition and conference attracted more than 18,000 visitors from over 80 countries to comprehensive workshops and presentations, as well as product showcases from 550 exhibitors.

USA: SunShot Funds Development of Cost-Effective Concentrating Collectors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 29, 2016
SunshotOn 28 July, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded grants to six research projects which aim to reduce the costs of concentrating solar collectors. The initiative is called COLLECTS, which is short for Concentrating Optics for Lower Levelized Energy Costs, and focuses on the most expensive component of a CSP plant: the collectors / the reflector. One of the beneficiaries of the COLLECTS budget of nearly USD 9 million is California-based, early-stage technology provider Sunvapor, which is planning to supply the industry with solar steam solutions more cost-effective than natural gas-based steam boilers. COLLECT is part of the DOE’s SunShot initiative started in 2011.

SolarCool Europe: Solar Heat Reduces Chiller Electricity Consumption

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 27, 2016
SolarCool InstallationIn April 2016, British company SolarCool Energy put into operation its largest SolarCool system, which was installed on the roof of Chingford Fruit’s processing plant (see photo) in Dartford Kent, UK. Fifty-four retrofitted vacuum tube collectors totalling 160 m² have since reduced the power consumption of the existing compression chillers with a cooling capacity of 1 MW. According to Central Services Manager Colin Ormerod, Chingford Fruit has saved 100,000 kWh of electricity during process cooling (16 °C) over the two full months that the system has been in operation (May and June). The SolarCool technology was developed in 2009 in the USA, and reached European markets in 2013/2014. In the meantime, there have been around 6,000 systems set up across all continents – the majority in Latin America, Caribbean and South East Asia, according to Dr Kurt Orthmann, Joint Managing Director at SolarCool’s European subsidiary, SolarCool Europe.
Photo: UK SolarCool Energy installation

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: First-Hand Information on US SHC Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 23, 2016
Conference LogosThe American Solar Heating & Cooling Alliance will offer sector-related conferences at both of its major upcoming events in the USA: Intersolar in San Francisco on 12 July and Solar Power International in Las Vegas on 12 September. The SHC Alliance, a division of the Solar Energy Industries Association, is organising and sponsoring these events to assess the tremendous impact solar thermal could have on energy and national gas consumption across the country. There is still little demand for solar thermal technologies and the industry will need to invest considerable effort in communicating their advantages. Gross additions in 2015 for glazed collectors have been estimated at 170,000 m² – a 7 % drop compared to the previous year. Unglazed collectors increased 1 % last year, bringing the total up to 846,000 m². These US market figures were provided by Les Nelson, a member of the SHC Council.

IEA SHC: Levelised Cost of Heat and the Calculations behind It

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 28, 2016
The main objective of IEA SHC Task 52, Solar Thermal in Energy Supply Systems in Urban Environments, is to call attention to both the technical and economic aspects of solar heating and cooling usage in densely populated urban areas. Urban planners and commercial clients want to know the costs compared to the energy output generated by various solar heating technologies. A method to benchmark different solar heat production systems is Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE). This method is described by the IEA as the “average price that would have to be paid by consumers to repay exactly the investor/operator for the capital, operation and maintenance and fuel expenses, with a rate of return equal to the discount rate”. The chart shows the LCOE for different applications and system sizes in northern / central European climates, taken from the most current Task 52 study Technology and Demonstrators (for further details see table below). The author of the study, Franz Mauthner from Austrian research institute AEE INTEC, contributed to this article, which elaborates on the method and the calculations behind it. 
Chart: Task 52 / Technology and Demonstrators study


Search results

  • Country : USA