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Switzerland: Current CO2 Tax Does Little to Help Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 16, 2017
Oil price chartThe solar thermal market in Switzerland has been shrinking for the past years because of increasing competition from photovoltaics and heat pumps. Additionally, the low oil price has led to a wait-and-see attitude among potential customers. The market continues to show no signs of an upturn despite the introduction of a CO2 tax on fossil fuels around 10 years ago. This tax, however, has done little to compensate for the one-third reduction in oil prices in 2015 and 2016. A more suitable alternative would be a levy linked to oil and gas prices.
Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office
 

Belo Horizonte – Brazil´s Solar Capital

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 25, 2017
Belo HorizonteBelo Horizonte, a municipality about 600 km north of Sao Paulo in the state of Minas Gerais, is also known as the solar capital of Brazil. Not only does it have a population of about 2.5 million, but solar water heater installations on many of its high-rise multifamily buildings. The photo shows one example, a block of flats for the wealthy middle class. The roof is completely covered in solar water heaters, which meet around half of the annual hot water requirements. This article will present the main drivers of an exciting market development in Latin America: a university research group specialised in solar heating and cooling, committed system planners, strong manufacturers and a pro-solar state utility.
Photos: Bärbel Epp
 

Switzerland: Strong Heat Pump and PV Competition

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 3, 2017
Switzerland market statisticsThere couldn’t be a starker contrast between the market development of two renewable heat segments: Whereas Swiss heat pump sales remained at around 18,400 units per year from 2014 to 2016, collector sales dropped significantly from 117,634 m² in 2014 to 66,699 m² last year. Market volume is now below where it was ten years ago and solar water heaters are facing strong competition from heat pumps and photovoltaics (see attached market report in German and French). The annual solar thermal symposium on 8 November in Dübendorf near Zurich will provide an opportunity to discuss alternative applications and technologies.
Source: Swissolar
 

Slovenia: On the Path to Renewable District Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 2, 2017
Rok SunkoDistrict heating networks supplied by renewable energy sources (RES) are widely recognised today as one of the most effective ways to decarbonise the heating sector. The EU’s CoolHeating project has been supporting the implementation of small, modular renewable heating and cooling grids for towns in southeastern Europe by transferring knowledge from leading countries such as Austria, Denmark and Germany to newcomers, for example, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. It has also led to the publication of a handbook – Small modular renewable heating and cooling grids – available in seven languages (see the attached PDFs). Solarthermalworld.org talked to Rok Sunko (see photo) from one of the project partners, Skupina Fabrika about current developments and the outlook of RES district heating in Slovenia. The company is a Slovenian-based R&D business focusing on renewables, IT solutions and branding.
Photo: Skupina Fabrika
 

Brazil: Energy Ministry with Big Plans for Solar

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 6, 2017
Amauricio Gomes Lúcio / Eduardo AzevedoThe focus of the Intersolar South America in Sao Paulo: photovoltaics. Increasing electricity prices in Brazil and net metering options have generated interest among PV manufacturers from all over the world. The fair organisers, German-based Solar Promotion, said that the number of exhibitors had risen by another 20 % to more than 220. This only made it even more crucial for the newly founded Brazilian solar thermal industry association Abrasol to fly the flag. The opening speech on the Strategic Importance of Solar Thermal in Brazil, the title of the solar heat conference day on 23 August, came from Eduardo Azevedo (right), State Secretary of Energy Planning and Development at the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, MME. He underlined the importance of replacing electric shower heads with solar water heaters to increase efficiency. The ministry expects the share of residential SWHs to double from today’s 7 % to 14 % by 2026 (see the following chart). The photo shows Abrasol´s President, Amauricio Gomes Lúcio, presenting Azevedo with the Brazilian Atlas of Solar Energy.
Photo: Intersolar South America / Solar Promotion

India: UNDP-GEF Project Paves Way for Commercialising Industrial Process Heat

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 4, 2017
Dr GoswamiThe five-year UNDP-GEF project Market Development of Concentrating Solar Thermal Heating (CSH) Technologies for Process Heat Applications has paved the way towards commercialisation. The objective was to accelerate demand for CSH systems in industrial, commercial and public facilities by organising stakeholder workshops, strengthening the industrial supply chain and implementing quality assurance measures. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Dr R P Goswami, National Project Coordinator and Director at the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, about CSH market development in India. 
Photo: MNRE 
 

Italy: 6,820 Municipalities Report Solar Thermal Use

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 21, 2017
Legambiente Report TitleIn 2005, Legambiente, the largest environmental association in Italy, began publishing an annual report called Comuni Rinnovabili to show renewable deployment in Italian municipalities. The number of communities which had solar thermal installations increased from 108 in 2005 to 6,820 in this year’s edition, which is based on 2016 figures. Data is collected by sending a questionnaire directly to the municipalities and cross-checking the responses with official figures from GSE, the state-owned business managing renewable incentive schemes in Italy, and information and reports sent in by regional and industry associations and individual companies. Less populated municipalities are doing well in these statistics: Of the 6,820 communities which reported solar thermal installations, 4,454 are small and very small ones with a population below 5,000.
 

South Africa: SHIP Opportunities in Agri-Processing and Textile Production

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 19, 2017
SHIP process heatSouth Africa shows large but untapped potential in terms of Solar Heat for Industrial Processes (SHIP). So far, there have been only seven systems in operation across the country and they provide heat in fields as varied as textile manufacturing (see photo), brewing, cheesemaking and automotive production. A recently published study titled Industrial scale solar heat in South Africa: Opportunities in agri-processing and textiles estimates the potential in agri-processing to be as high as 3.76 million m² of collector area and in textile manufacturing at around 519,000 m² (see the attached document). The 72-page document written by the WWF South Africa in cooperation with the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) of Stellenbosch University and non-profit organisation GreenCape looks at the key drivers for and barriers to increased SHIP deployment in the southernmost country in Africa. 
Photo: CRSES / Ulrich Terblanche
 

Egypt and Jordan: SHAMCI to Give New Impetus to Arab Markets

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 13, 2017
SHAMCI Workshop May 2017The implementation of SHAMCI, the Solar Heating Arab Mark and Certification Initiative, could help expand the solar thermal market in both Egypt and Jordan. On 15 and 16 May 2017, a workshop held at the headquarters of RCREEE (Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) and on the premises of NREA (New and Renewable Energy Authority of Egypt) in Cairo offered experts, market observers and stakeholders from both countries a platform to discuss requirements for implementing SHAMCI at national level. Solarthermalworld.org spoke to Lotus Shaheen, who works at SHAMCI’s secretariat, about the results of the workshop and the next steps by the regional initiative.
Photo: RCREEE
 

Renewable Global Futures Report: Experts Divided on Future of Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 5, 2017
CoverIs the transition to 100 % renewables at global level a feasible and realistic objective? What share will renewably sourced heat have by 2050? Will the electrification of heat continue? These are three of more than 100 questions which were answered in interviews with 114 experts from all around the world. Interviewees came from NGOs, research institutions, governmental bodies and international organisations. REN21’s Renewable Global Futures Report published in April 2017 summed up their explanations as part of twelve Great Debates. Lead author Dr Sven Teske from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, presented some of the key findings of the report during a June webinar organised by the International Solar Energy Society. 
 

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