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Domestic Hot Water and Heating

Portugal: New Government with Good Intentions but Lack of Action

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 30, 2016
Solrico Portugal Market AssessmentAfter a politically unstable last quarter of 2015, Portugal’s path for the next years seems to be finally set. The new socialist government, led by António Costa, took office by the end of November and brought back the old promise of supporting renewable energy sources. At least, this is what the government programme shows, the intention to encourage solar thermal use. The industry looks slightly more optimistic into 2016. According to the ISOL Index survey carried out in September 2015, more than a third of the participating 13 solar thermal system suppliers in Portugal expect a growing market, while 39 % expect a stable one this year. 
Source: solrico

Concentrating Solar Heat in Spain: An Untapped Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 29, 2016
FresnelLast December, the Spanish Advanced Technology Center for Renewable Energies, CTAER, and the Solar Concentra forum in Spain released a study which evaluated the potential of medium- and low-temperature solar thermal concentration technologies across Spain (between 100 and 400 °C). The study, entitled Applications and market potential of medium-temperature concentrating solar power technologies in Spain, concludes that these technologies have already been cost-competitive with some alternatives, such as oil and gas, in the industrial and residential segments, and it provides some recommendations to promote this promising market. The photo shows one of the very few solar process heat installations in Spain with concentrating technology. It is a pilot plant with a Fresnel collector which has been supplying the animal feed production unit of Spanish company Grasas del Guadalquivir in Cordoba since in March 2015. 
Photo: INERSUR from CTAER study

SHC2015: The Challenge of Smart Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 22, 2016
After several quickly receding waves of smart home hypes, the current trend to link devices in residential homes seems comparably stable. Drivers of the development are energy, security and comfort. Although new products and services for smart homes focus on electricity usage, Uwe Trenkner is convinced that modern communication technologies are another important factor for solar heating. The consultant from Brussels, Belgium, was co-author of the Technical Study Report on Measuring, Remote Monitoring and Remote Controlling for Solar Thermal Systems, which was published at the end of last year (see the attached document). interviewed the expert during the Solar Heating and Cooling Conference (SHC2015) in Istanbul, Turkey, in December 2015.

Saudi Arabia: “Cheap might still be too expensive”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 19, 2016
Saudi Arabia Solar Cooling AramcoWith a solar radiation of up to 2,550 kWh/m², Saudi Arabia seems destined to be a frequent user of solar thermal energy. Solar heating and cooling, however, are not very common in the Kingdom. A new housing programme launched by the government is now adding solar water heating to the list of eligible technologies, albeit companies selling to Saudi Arabia have so far only reported a small number of prestigious projects. The photo shows a solar cooling demonstration plant at the headquarters of the kingdom’s oil company, Aramco, in Dhahran. The system, which came into operation in November 2014, offers high-vacuum flat MT-Power panels by Swiss manufacturer TVP Solar and runs a double-effect absorption chiller with 180 °C to produce cold air for Saudi Aramco's Al-Munirah Community Library. Still, solar thermal energy seems to remain a niche market in the eyes of the government, which has just published a new energy strategy for the coming years – the policy document primarily mentions PV, CSP and nuclear energy to offset the rising domestic consumption of the nation’s main export commodity: oil. 
Photo: TVP Solar

Slovakia: Solar Collectors Second Most Favourite Choice for Green Homes

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 15, 2016
Green HomesThe long-awaited support scheme for the utilisation of renewable energy sources in residential buildings, Green Homes, was launched on 1 December 2015 – finally, one might say, as its start had already been planned for August 2015. With the EU-funded programme, the Slovak government intends to get homeowners to transform their energy supply ecologically. Any kind of small-scale renewable technology is eligible for the programme. Not only residential homeowners will get back up to 50% of their project costs, but also associations of flat owners are eligible for financial support, whereas companies are not entitled to any incentive (see further information in the database of incentive programmes). The chart from the programme´s website shows the three most favourite technologies during the first allocation period: photovoltaics, solar thermal and heat pumps.

SHC 2015: 14 Expert Interviews on Research Highlights and Technology Trends on Tape

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 13, 2016
Videos SHC2015
From 2 to 4 December 2015, the SHC2015 conference in Istanbul brought together 233 researchers, industry specialists and other experts on solar heating and cooling. With 14 video interviews filmed at the conference, highlighted the trends and pinpointed the crucial issues of today's global solar heating and cooling sector. The videos were jointly financed by the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme and the European Copper Association. They are available for download on the YouTube channel.

Quality Infrastructure Crucial to Emerging Markets

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 11, 2016
IRENA 2In December 2015, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published a comprehensive report on how to establish a quality infrastructure (QI) for solar water heaters on small-scale markets (see the attached document). The 76-page study is part of a series on Quality Infrastructure for Renewable Energy, which uses information from 83 survey respondents and data from interviews with 34 experts on QIs for renewable energy sources. The report discusses established international system and collector testing standards as well as examples of implementation across selected countries. It also highlights market barriers and makes recommendations for developing solar water heater Qis, focusing mainly on emerging markets. The programme highlights the complexity of a quality infrastructure, including the establishment of a product label, test labs, installers’ certification and the involvement of inspection bodies.
Source: IRENA

South Africa: Invitation to Tender Comes Several Months Later than Expected

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 4, 2016
South AfricaSouth Africa is back to the tender season. At the beginning of December, the Department of Energy (DoE) published its Invitation of Bids for the Manufacturing and Supply, Delivery and Warehousing of Solar Water Heater Systems for financial years 2015/2016, 2016/2017 as well as 2017/2018. It will end on 15 January 2016. The current tender was announced and expected since spring 2015. In her budget speech on 19 May 2015, the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, promised an improved solar water heater programme operated by the DoE already within the 2015 budget. But nothing happened until the beginning of December. The industry was not at all amused about the delay, as several publications of the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA) show.

Solergy Collector Label: EU Commission Confirms Clear Distinction from Energy Labelling

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 28, 2015
The implementation of voluntary collector label Solergy will enter into the second phase in 2016. The European Commission has confirmed that there was no likelihood of confusing the voluntary mark with the official energy labelling stipulated since September 2015 for heating devices across Europe, the Steering Committee of the Solar Heating Initiative said in a letter sent to selected stakeholders in the middle of December. The letter went on to explain that it would now be the responsibility of DIN Certco, the German certification body, to issue Solergy labels officially and register the certificates in an online database. During the first phase in the second half of 2015, it had been Stefan Abrecht, the initiator of the voluntary collector label and General Manager of German company Solar Experience, who had issued the certificates.

France: Monitoring Innovations – Rebuilding Investor Confidence

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 22, 2015
 Tecsol Monitoring Device“The French market has been suffering from inadequately performing solar thermal installations made in the boom years of 2009 to 2011 because of untrained installers,” said Edwige Gautier, Project Coordinator at Enerplan, the Union of Professionals in Solar Energy, during her speech at SHC2015 in Istanbul at the beginning of December. “We need to rebuild investor confidence in solar thermal.” Training and installation manuals are one way to achieve this aim, monitoring systems would be another. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that two solar thermal innovations were conceived in France this year: Tecsol’s One Thermique and the storage tank touchscreens by Viessmann with its storage tank and collector factory in Faulquemont, France. 


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