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District Heating

Austria: Low Oil Price and Lack of Political Support Weakens Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 15, 2016
Heating with oilAccording to the ISOL Index by solrico and market data from the industry association Austria Solar, the solar thermal industry is heading into another year of declining markets. Low oil prices and corresponding campaigns of the fossil heating industry have had a substantial impact on this renewable technology. The banner shows the slogan “Heizen mit Öl – das zahlt sich aus” (The Benefits of Using Oil to Heat Your Home) on the website of the Austrian mineral oil industry, which offers grants of EUR 2,500 for the installation of a condensing oil boiler in a single-family building. Austria Solar has also criticised the reduction in the renewable budget of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund as well as the complicated incentive scheme rules throughout the states. The large-scale project market is what keeps the industry alive. 

Italy: Conto Termico 2.0 Refers to Expected Yield

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 12, 2016
The latest statistics of Conto Termico in Italy show that the national incentive scheme has still not been used enough: As of 1 January 2016, it had supported only 62 solar thermal plants for public buildings, while the private sector figure was 10,634. Assuming an average plant size of 7 m², as estimated by Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), this corresponds to a total subsidised collector area of 75,000 m² – a fairly low result over the 30 months of the scheme. The subsidy volume for solar thermal now amounts to about EUR 27.5 million, around half of the total incentives which have so far been distributed by Conto Termico. This is again a rather small figure compared to an originally planned budget of EUR 900 million. GSE, the state-owned administrator of Conto Termico, has therefore modified the scheme rules. 

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). 
 

Europe: Strategy on Heating and Cooling Launches in February 2016

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 21, 2015
Maroš Šefčovič (left) and Miguel Arias CañeteThe publication of the EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling (Heat Strategy) is now scheduled for February 2016, when it will be published as part of the winter (legislative) package comprising a revised Security of Gas Supply Regulation and an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas. The Heat Strategy was supposed to be already out on 18 November 2015. The consultation process is now over and the ENER C3 unit of the Directorate General (DG) of Energy is drafting the final version. The photos show the two most important heads of European energy strategies, both with a five-year term up to 2019: Maroš Šefčovič from Slovakia, Vice-President of the European Commission and in charge of the Energy Union (left), and Miguel Arias Cañete from Spain, the commissioner for Energy and Climate Action. 
Photos: EU Commission
 

France Increases Public Support for Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 11, 2015

The French energy agency Ademe has been supporting renewable heat production in the industry, the district heating sector and at multi-family buildings since 2009. The budget of the national subsidy scheme, Fonds Chaleur (Heat Fund), will double in amount from around EUR 240 million per year to EUR 420 million in 2017. During 2009 to 2014, solar installations accounted for as little as 6 % of Fonds Chaleur's EUR 1.2 billion (see the attached report). Despite the high subsidy amount, the number of solar thermal applications is declining, as is the French solar market in general. Ademe is trying to counter the negative trend by offering new incentive schemes to address the large solar systems segments.
Source: Ademe

SHC2015: Conference Combines New Technologies, Market Analysis and Policies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 2, 2015
SHC ConferenceThe development of the international solar heating and cooling markets is posing great challenges: Whereas the residential market has been on the decline, market demand is shifting towards complex industrial solutions, large-scale plants for solar district heating and innovative solutions for building integration. The leading international solar thermal conference, the SHC2015, will address these key issues facing the industry. The three-day event will take place in Istanbul between 2 and 4 December 2015. The conference programme of SHC2015 has now been available online.
Photo: PSE/SHC2013
 

IEA SHC: Start of International Research Network on GW-Sized Solar Thermal Plants

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 23, 2015
The IEA’s solar heating and cooling programme has begun its research activities on solar thermal systems of gigawatt size. Scientists, industry representatives and utilities have been invited to participate in a definition workshop for a new task in the Austrian city of Graz on 5 November 2015. Sabine Putz, COO and R&D Manager at S.O.L.I.D., an Austrian large-scale turnkey system supplier, has proposed a four-year research programme entitled Large Scale Solar District Heating and Cooling Systems, which aims at studying economic, engineering and quality factors influencing solar district heating and cooling systems above 3.5 MW and up to GW size. 
 

Denmark: Performance Guarantees Constitute Key Element in District Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 14, 2015
Arcon-SunmarkIn Denmark, there are currently around 576,000 m² of solar collectors providing 403 MW of thermal power to 61 district heating systems. Another 28 plants with 395 MW and 564,000 m² of collector area are in the pipeline, according to a presentation held by Danish consultant Per Kristensen at the SDH conference in Toulouse in June 2015. Widely replicable plant concepts are part of the success story. 
Source: Arcon-Sunmark
 

Germany: Solar District Heating Tenders with 3-Year Solar Yield Guarantee

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 27, 2015

And the winner is: Ritter XL Solar. The German large-scale turnkey system supplier was awarded the contract for a 1,422 m2 solar district heating field in the southern German town of Simmern. The solar thermal plant is part of a newly built district heating system which supplies the two communities Külz and Neuerkirch. 142 mostly residential buildings will be connected to a new, 100 % renewable heating network with a length of 5,700 m. The main heating source is a wood chip boiler, and the solar thermal system should deliver hot water over the summer months, as well as in spring and autumn. The installation of the collector field is planned for November and should take one month. It will be the largest solar collector field of Ritter XL in Germany.
Figure: Ritter XL Solar

Demonstration project: Finnish Collector Field Operating in Denmark

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 18, 2015
LogumklosterThe first solar district heating collector field in Denmark with direct-flow, aluminium absorbers from Finnish company Savo-Solar came into operation in July 2015. Municipal district heating company Løgumkloster Fjernvarme had ordered 9,400 m² of collector area (6.6 MWth) during the first phase of the project. “If we are satisfied with the performance, we will extend the collector field by 35,000 m² next year,” confirmed Peter G. Andersen, Head of Operations at Løgumkloster Fjernvarme. Savo-Solar used this demonstration project for a successful entry into the Danish district heating market, which was dominated by only one supplier, Arcon-Sunmark, since a merger in February 2015. The Finnish collector manufacturer won the tender by Jelling Varmevaerk in June 2015 and negotiated the final contract for the delivery of 15,000 m² collector area (10.5 WMth) with the municipality in southern Denmark. The utility aims at receiving the permits and confirming the contract by the beginning of November.
Photo: Savo-Solar
 

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