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French SOCOL network analyses market drivers and barriers

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 10, 2018
EnerplanThe SOCOL network has become more involved than ever in shaping the future of the French solar thermal sector, having grown quickly from just 155 experts in 2013 to 2,500 today. Great efforts are being made to improve the image of solar thermal as a cost-effective, reliable technology for commercial applications. Despite the favourable environment, the French market has experienced a notable decline over recent years. Preliminary data from 2017 shows the newly installed collector to have been as little as 50,000 m², a decrease of 15 % compared to the year prior. Only multi-family properties and large-scale systems seem to be bucking the trend. 
Source: Uniclima
 

Solar thermal plays minor role in Italy’s energy strategy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 15, 2017
SEN LogoSolar thermal had been mentioned in only five lines in the first draft of Italy’s National Energy Strategy in June 2017, before public consultation took place. The aim of the document has been to set objectives and provide scenarios for national energy supply and demand until 2030. The country’s Ministry of Economic Development, which developed the Strategia Energetica Nazionale (SEN), received more than 1,000 comments in June and September 2017 and published its final version on 10 November 2017 (find both documents attached). Though the strategy paper contains promising renewable and energy efficiency targets, solar thermal – and heating and cooling in general – will continue to play second fiddle to natural gas.
 

UK: How Does Solar Thermal Sustain against Photovoltaics and Biomass?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 30, 2017
KingspanAt the end of 2016 the solar thermal industry association STA campaigned successfully for solar thermal to remain in the two Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI). However, the year 2017 was so far weaker than the previous years. In the domestic RHI there were 423 residential applications accredited from January to September 2017, compared to 537 in the same period of the previous year. Approved applications for commercial solar thermal plants with in the non-domestic RHI were down to 19 in this same period from 36 in the previous year.  The photo shows a 155 m² installation on the roof of the new Star Community Centre in Cardiff that opened its doors in September 2016. 
Photo: Kingspan
 

Spain: Marketing Activities Foster SHIP Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 29, 2017
SHIP plantsThe Spanish market for Industrial Solar Heat (SHIP) is still small: Currently, there are only three installations ongoing across the country (see screen shot). Now, the Spanish Solar Concentra platform intends to support market development by identifying 130 potential industrial SHIP clients with no access to the piped natural gas grid, but sufficient space for a solar thermal installation in the south of Spain. Diego Crespo, Project Engineer at the Protermosolar association, the coordinator of Solar Concentra, presented this approach during a webinar on 16 November. The organiser of the webinar, Spanish-based consultancy ATA Insights, has uploaded a recording and his presentation to its website.
 

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 
 

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