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Domestic Hot Water and Heating

Mexico: Ongoing Struggle over Legally Binding Standards

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 24, 2016
CONUEEDespite being the most robust solar thermal market across North and South America in terms of growth (8 % YoY in 2015), Mexico is still struggling domestically to harmonise its quality standards for solar thermal heaters. The lack of understanding between local producers and equipment importers has been the main hurdle to legally binding and uniform rules. However, the process is ongoing and the market’s stakeholders expect a draft of the official NOM-027-ENER-2015 to be available for public consultation by the end of 2016.
Chart: CONUEE
 

Germany: Vaillant Establishes End-Customer Online Platform

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 15, 2016
VaillantGerman Vaillant has launched a project which has stirred controversy among installers: Online platform heizungonline.vaillant.de can be used by manufacturers to directly address those end customers who wish to shop online – and send them a “price indication” for a complete heating system. Recent discussions have revolved around the question of whether this is a help to installation companies or if it interferes with their entrepreneurial freedom. 
Picture: heizungonline.vaillant.de
 

Germany: Today’s System Suppliers Wary of Fixed-Price Marketing Campaigns

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 8, 2016
Sonnenkraft Advertising 2005 and 2015The German solar thermal market is still stuck in recession. Although incentives are higher than they have ever been, demand has not really picked up over the first five months of this year, according to the market statistics by the two associations BSW Solar and BDH. The total collector area sold until the end of May was again down by 5.3 % compared to the previous year, although vacuum tubes have been more strongly affected by the slump (-18 %) than flat plate collectors (-4 %). Installers are viewed as the bottleneck in the supply chain and an increasing number of solar thermal suppliers have run advert campaigns to try and reach end customers on their own. Solarthermalworld.org has already reported on the new end-customer sales strategies employed by Thermondo. This article describes how the campaigns of another German system supplier, Sonnenkraft, have changed over the years. The image depicts an advertisement for the campaign from 2005 (left) and one from 2015 (right).
Image: Sonnenkraft
 

Ukraine: IT Company Building to Have Solar Drainback System

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 20, 2016
Lviv IT ClusterLviv IT Cluster, one of Ukraine´s leading IT businesses, is currently building up a multi-family house for its employees that meets all the requirements for a smart property, including a modern heating system. It offers 72 flats on ten floors and is being built in Lviv, in western Ukraine. The gas condensing boilers for the heating station on the most upper floor will be delivered by German boiler and collector manufacturer Vaillant Group, which is also said to install the 30 collectors on the building’s roof once construction has been completed. The illustration shows a 3D model of the “IT House”, where construction for the 6th floor is underway, as an online webcam shows.
Image: Lviv IT Cluster
 

Portugal: Two New Incentive Schemes on the Horizon

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 18, 2016
Aviso 20Good news for the Portuguese market: This year’s agenda includes two new schemes to support energy efficiency measures in buildings, and solar thermal has been put into the spotlight. The first programme, Aviso 20 – Edifícios Eficientes 2016 (Efficient Buildings), has already been open to applications since 8 July 2016. Its budget of EUR 1.1 million covers up to 60 % of the cost of efficiency measures, including new solar water heater installations, in existing residential and commercial buildings. The second programme, Casa Eficiente (Efficient Home), is still under development, but the scheme’s much larger budget of EUR 100 million will offer low-interest loans for efficiency measures in the residential sector. Obviously, both programmes are not exclusively solar thermal ones; they also support window replacement or additional insulation. 
 

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
 

Slovakia: Newest Member Country of IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 12, 2016
BobovnickySlovakia is the first country from Eastern Europe to join the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC). Since its admission, the small nation of only 5.5 million people has been represented by Artur Bobovnický (photo) from the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA). Bobovnický, who had previously held the job of Commercial Director at Slovakian SEVT, an office supplies business, took on the position of Director of Innovation and International Cooperation at SIEA in June 2014. Shortly thereafter, he was made aware of the great potential of the IEA‘s Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) and successfully convinced the Slovakian government to sponsor membership.
 

India: 40 % Solar Hot Water Share in Ladakh Region

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 29, 2016
LREDA ceremonyIt’s a delight to gaze at the glittering solar panels on virtually every roof in the Ladakh region in the northern Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir. The Himalayan territory enjoys more than 320 clear, sunny days each year and has undoubtedly become India’s leader in solar energy, as 40 % of its population is now using solar water heaters in their homes, up from almost zero per cent back in 2011. The region owes its success largely to the tireless work of the Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA), which was the only renewable energy agency among the 102 institutions and companies presented with an award by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy during an April 2016 ceremony. The photo shows energy minister Piyush Goyal (right) presenting the award to Jigmet Takpa, Director of the LREDA.
Photo: LREDA
 

Tunisia: Good Hotel and Hospital Investment Opportunities

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 8, 2016
Tunisia StudyA great deal of sunlight, large investment grants and subsidised energy prices: These are the factors determining the profitability of big solar thermal systems in Tunisia, according to the authors of the study Opportunities for solar thermal systems in the tertiary and industrial sectors in Tunisia, a publication by the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, (see attached document in English, the French version is under consultation). Under certain circumstances, a solar thermal system can achieve a double-digit Internal Rate of Return (IRR), for example, if it is installed at LPG-dependent hotels or hospitals on the Tunisian island of Djerba. When solar replaces natural gas in commercial buildings in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, the IRR is still significantly higher than the estimated 4.3 % inflation per year. However, there are difficulties with the economic feasibility of solar process heat applications because not even top reference cases have fulfilled investor expectations. The authors emphasise that the importance Tunisian businesses currently place on payback periods for investing may lead them to overlook valuable projects.
Figure: GIZ study
 

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