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large-scale solar thermal installations

Austria: Solar Power Market Up, Renewable Heat Down

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 4, 2017
Market Report Austria 2016
Last year, the Austrian solar thermal market declined for the seventh time in a row. The newly installed glazed collector area added up to 111,040 m² (78 MWth), 19 % below the one of 2015. Sales of biomass boilers experienced a similar drop, with wood chip boilers (<100 kW) down by 12 % and pellet boilers by 14 %. PV capacity was the only one growing again, rising to 156 MWp, 3 % above its 2015 total. These key figures have been taken from a report published annually by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, bmvit, and titled Innovative Energy Technologies in Austria – Market Development (see the attached document in German). This year’s 242-page document was first presented on 22 June in Vienna, Austria. The chapter starting on page 131 provides a comprehensive overview of the Austrian solar thermal market, including sales by collector type and application as well as export and import statistics. 
Image: bmvit
 

China: Sunrain Finalises Strategic Cooperation Agreements

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 30, 2017
Natural Ressources CanadaThe Chinese Sunrain group, the world’s biggest collector manufacturer, is broadening its product portfolio to include large-scale solar thermal plants. Sunrain had already made the first step towards globalising its strategic partnerships by establishing a joint venture with Danish-based Arcon-Sunmark in June 2016. It has now concluded a cooperation agreement with CanmetEnergy in Canada with the aim to develop solar district heating systems using borehole heat storage fields for seasonal storage in China. Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr (back row 2nd from left) oversaw the signing of the agreement during his visit to China in June 2017. The agreement was signed by Xinjian Xu, Founder and Board Chair of Sunrain Solar Energy (front right) and Frank Des Rosiers, Assistant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada’s Innovation and Energy Technology (front left).
Photo: Natural Ressources Canada
 

Germany: “Performance-based incentives for all solar thermal plants”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 11, 2016
In spring 2015, Germany´s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) introduced a performance-based incentive for solar heating as an alternative to the scheme offering incentives based on collector area. Recently published statistics have shown the new programme to grant higher financial support for about one-third of the currently funded projects. The others still receive funding from the previously established scheme. 
 

Austria: Award-Winning Energy Service Company Publishes ESCO Model Fact Sheets

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 26, 2016
Contracting AwardEnergy Service Companies (ESCO) have become pioneers in the development of financing and operating models for various energy sector customers. Every two years, the so-called Contracting Award highlights exemplary ESCO projects in Germany (“Contracting” is the German word for Energy Service Contracts). For the first time since the launch of the awards in 1997, the jury members from the magazine Energy & Management and the German Heat & Power Association, AGFW, presented one of these awards to a solar thermal ESCO. On 16 April, Christian Holter (third from left), Managing Director of Austrian turnkey system supplier S.O.L.I.D., was presented with the second prize for its solar energy supply contract with a district heating company in the Austrian city of Graz. The company published Tech Sheets and Fact Sheets about ESCO models as part of the IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling programme’s Task 45, Large Scale Solar Heating and Cooling Systems (see the attached documents).
 

Austria: Optimising of Large-scale Collector Fields

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 6, 2016
Hydraulic SchemesOne key aspect of the energy and cost optimisation of large-scale collector fields (called arrays in this news) is collector array hydraulics. Optimal connection is achieved when (1) the costs and length of the connecting pipes is small, (2) the pressure drop over the entire array is low and (3) there is homogeneous mass flow distribution across the entire field. “Homogeneous mass flow reduces power losses in the circuit, avoids inefficient pump operation and prevents local stagnation,” explains Philip Ohnewein. The researcher at Austrian institute AEE INTEC managed the four-year project ParaSol (2011 to 2014), which – among other things – analysed the advantages and disadvantages of different hydraulic designs of large collector arrays of several hundreds to several thousands of panels. The results were also discussed and published as part of Task 45, Large Systems: Large Solar Heating/Cooling Systems, Seasonal Storage, Heat Pumps, of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme in a two-page info leaflet and a 44-page technical document (attached to this article). 
 

Denmark: New Arcon-Sunmark Focuses on Large-Scale Turnkey Installations

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 12, 2015
Sunmark VietnamDanish VKR Holding purchased collector manufacturer and turnkey system supplier Sunmark Solutions, also from Denmark, and incorporated the company into subsidiary Arcon Solar. The two firms have now merged to become Arcon-Sunmark, a direct subsidiary of VKR Holding and headquartered in Skørping in Northern Jutland, Torben Sørensen, Chairman of the Board of Arcon-Sunmark, says in a press release from 3 February 2015. Sørensen quit his job as CEO of Danish VKR subsidiary SolarCap, which was shut down and all its stakes divested in the course of 2014. Solarthermalworld.org has reported on the buyout of Sonnenkraft, as well as Greenonetec. The photo shows the Vietnamese collector production factory of Sunmark Solutions.
Photo: Sunmark Solutions

Germany: Feed-in Tariff Changes May Benefit Solar Heat

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 22, 2014
Whereas Germany’s total collector sales are dropping, solar thermal companies see a glimmer of hope for big projects because of changed feed-in tariffs in the renewable electricity sector. So far, the cogeneration of heat and power has been the strongest competitor of large-scale solar heat for district heating and industrial projects. Because cogeneration had been a very attractive solution in terms of electricity prices, even a subsidy recovering all costs of a solar thermal investment wouldn’t have tipped the scales in favour of solar heat, a study by Fichtner stated in autumn of 2013. Now, however, cogeneration is starting to lose ground. 
 

Austria: Solar Process Heat Cheaper than Oil Boiler

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 31, 2014
Berger The solar process heat plant at Fleischwaren Berger in Sieghartskirchen, Austria, went into operation in July 2013. With its 1,067 m² of high-temperature flat plate collectors, it pre-heats water for steam and hot water production. According to calculations by Austrian company SOLID, which was responsible for the planning and the turnkey installation, the solar plant can deliver usable heat at lower costs than the existing oil boiler over a 25-year period and with a favourable interest rate. 
Photo: Green Foods
 

Bulgaria: First Luxury Hotel in Sofia Heats Water with the Sun

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 4, 2013

Hilton Sofia has brought a large-scale solar thermal energy system into operation. The system, which consists of forty-five Bosch Solar 7000TF flat plate collectors on the roof of the building, heats 5,000 litres of the hotel‘s 8,000-litre demand per day. The big and modern hotel structure with 245 rooms, various restaurants and conference halls is located in the southern Sofia quarter of Losenets, at the bottom of the Vitosha Mountain, which peaks at 2,300 m. “We are directly in the corridor which brings fresh air from the mountains to the city, which is why we sometimes have quite heavy winds out here. So, we had to reinforce the aluminium pillars of the installation, in order to ensure the system’s safety even on windy days,” Valentin Vitkov explains. According to the Assistant Chief Engineer at Hilton Sofia, solar energy installations are rare in Bulgaria and municipal construction regulations are tough to comply with.
Photos Frank Stier

Costa Rica: Small Market but Prestigious Large-Scale Projects

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 23, 2013

Costa Rica’s local solar thermal industry has been getting organised: The Solar Energy Association of Costa Rica, Acesolar, was officially founded last year. In early 2013, all formal issues were resolved and Acesolar was able to start working. Currently, the association has around twenty members. In February, a committee began developing a national standard for solar thermal systems. Cheap vacuum tubes from China are currently very popular. The photo shows one of the recent prestigious large-scale solar projects, which was finished in April 2013. The installation at the MultiSpa consists of 64 glazed flat plate collectors covering the hot water demand and 320 m² of unglazed collectors to heat the Olympic-size pool.
Photo: Acesolar

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