System 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.
The organiser of the two day conference Solar Thermal Energy for Europe 2020 is inviting stakeholders from the industry and solar heating and cooling researchers to Brussels, Belgium, on 24 and 25 May to offer them first-hand information on Horizon 2020 calls, an exchange of ideas and experiences and a venue for finding soon-to-be project partners. The European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP) of the Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC) concludes with a workshop on the Price Reduction of Solar Thermal Systems. The one-and-a-half hour session will be organised by the researchers of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme’s Task 54, which goes by the same name as the workshop.
The one-day workshop of the French solar sector to discuss the General State of Solar Heat in 2015 (États Généraux de la Chaleur Solaire 2015) took place in Nantes on 20 October with around 130 participants. The market is still decreasing, but the industry is closing its ranks to get out of the difficult situation. Multi-family housing and large-scale solar fields could give solar a second chance – that's at least what the French solar sector has been betting on. The workshop was organised by Enerplan, the Union of Professionals in Solar Energy, and supported by the French energy agency Ademe, as well as French gas supplier GrDF, a subsidiary of French utility Engie, formerly GDF Suez.
Brazil is going to implement compulsory certification of solar water heating (SWH) equipment in 2015. Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Mexico already have laboratories for testing, and Costa Rica has recently set up one. Latin America is working through the regional Pan American Standards Commission, COPANT, on regional standards for SWHs, with the aim of harmonising them with ISO standards. The region is not yet considering a common regional testing and certification scheme, but there is a growing consciousness of the fact that testing and certification performance, as well as quality is very important to developing the SWH markets of the region. It is the reason why 50 experts from 14 countries have recently discussed how to accelerate the process: The Regional Forum (from 29 to 30 June 2015) was jointly organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the project “Quality Infrastructure for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)” coordinated by the National Metrology Institute of Germany, PTB, the Latin American Energy Organization, OLADE, the Electricity Institute of Costa Rica, ICE, and the National Standards Body of Costa Rica, INTECO. All presentations are available for download on the IRENA website.
The Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) has organised a consultation meeting with the Union of Tyre Municipalities (UOTM) to discuss the implementation of a solar ordinance in the south of Lebanon. The workshop took place in the Platinum Hotel in the city of Tyre on 9 May under the patronage of Abdel Mohsen El Husseini, President of the UOTM. This consultation meeting was a follow-up to a series of bilateral talks with individual municipalities to introduce and promote the implementation of a solar obligation at municipality level. With its 60 municipalities, the UOTM is committed to adopting a solar obligation in the framework of a pilot project.
The solar thermal industry in France is going through difficult times: In 2014, market volume decreased again, this time by around 15 %, and business satisfaction among solar thermal system suppliers has been low. Both results are outcomes of the second one-day workshop held in Aix-les-Bains, a city in Savoie, south of Geneva, on 16 September 2014. Around 130 experts from the industry, research and service providers followed the invitation of Enerplan, the Union of Professionals in Solar Energy, to discuss the “Current State of Solar Heat in France”. Two of the meeting’s hot topics were innovation and reductions in system costs. As every cloud has a silver lining, there are two policy improvements this year: The tax credit for energy efficiency measures and renewable heating systems in residential homes will remain at 30 % until 31 December 2015 and the budget of the national subsidy scheme Fonds Chaleur (Heat Fund) will double from EUR 220 million in 2014 to EUR 400 million in 2017 and benefit multi-family and tertiary buildings. On the other hand, the government extended the 7 kWh/m2 bonus for multi-family houses within building standard RT1012 until 2018. The industry hoped that the bonus found in the RT 2012 building regulations would be rescinded at the end of 2014.
In cooperation with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, organised a workshop in New Delhi in the middle of October to present the first findings and measures within SoPro lndia, a project which aims at analysing and optimising existing industrial solar heat installations. The German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Fraunhofer ISE, and the Andhra Pradesh Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (APITCO) showcased their results from the first year of research. The photo shows the members of workshop panel (from left): Tarun Kapoor, the MNRE’s Joint Secretary (Solar), Dr Sohail Akhtar, Director of Solar Thermal at the MNRE, Timon Herzog from GIZ India, and Dr Gerhard Stryi-Hipp, Head of Energy Policy at Fraunhofer ISE.
Around 50 teachers took part in the Training of Trainers at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Beirut, Lebanon, at the end of March. The three-day course gathered teachers from most of the key institutions of vocational training in Lebanon in order to explain the new teaching material added to the curriculum and to hand over the course handbook, which serves as a guide to what the teachers should teach. The Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) held the workshop in the frame of the Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative, GSWH, which will run out at the end of April 2014. “We included solar thermal lessons in the official curriculum issued by the Lebanese Directorate of Vocational Training (LDEC) at all three levels of vocational training,” Elie Abou Jaoudeh, responsible for the GSWH project at the LCEC, said.
To date, solar thermal energy has been a largely unregulated technology in Latin America. Most of the countries in the region are suffering from nationalised, uncoordinated and sometimes insufficient quality standards. This lack of agreement is hindering the development of a shared and mature market. The regional Pan American Standards Commission, COPANT, is now working to address the issue by creating a unified regional standard and certification scheme for solar thermal components and systems. Although it is believed that a common standard and certification could ease current trade barriers, some market players think that, depending on the kind of regulation, it could create further obstacles to trade and technology exchange.
In April, two workshops for solar cooling took place in Asia. At the beginning of the month, a workshop in Singapore focused on the use of solar cooling in tropical regions and gathered around 70 participants from research and industry (see photo). The workshop took place at Cleantech One, which is part of Singapore’s clean technology centre. Cleantech One also hosts the Asia office of Austrian turnkeysystem provider S.O.L.I.D. and the energy research institute ERI@N of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). They both organised the workshop together with the International Energy Agency (IEA). A week later, almost 80 solar cooling specialists participated in the Australian Solar Cooling 2013 Conference in Sydney, an event by the Australian Solar Cooling Interest Group (ausSCIG). Solarthermalworld.org has picked out the highlights from the presentations held at the two workshops.