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SHC Solar Award: Five Finalists with Successful Support Policies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 15, 2017
Administrators of successful solar thermal support schemes are in the focus of this year’s Solar Award of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC). The jury has chosen five finalists, of which one will receive the SHC Solar Award during the IEA SHC’s joint conference with ISES Solar World Congress (SWC 2017) in Abu Dhabi on 1 November 2017. The finalists come from Australia, Austria, Germany, Lebanon and Tunisia (see logos above). They implemented very different support policies, such as rebates and/or loans as well as building obligations. Their activities all had a strong impact on their national or regional solar heating and cooling market.

Switzerland: Plans for Solar District Heating Pilot System

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 10, 2017
“Why is there no solar district heating in Switzerland?” Swiss scientists were asking after their visit to Denmark. They had been investigating the feasibility of solar heat in district heating networks in the St Gallen canton and published a 50-page study this March (see the attached document in German). As it turns out, solar heat could be produced in several networks for 60 to 160 CHF/MWh (50 to 140 EUR/MWh). Assuming plant owners or operators could get an incentive similar to the one for small-scale solar heat systems, it would make several larger ones economically viable. Now, the Swiss-based SPF – Institute of Solar Technology has begun to work with a district heating company on giving the country its first pilot plant.
 

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
 

Moldova: Vacuum Tube Collector Assembly Line Inaugurated

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 22, 2017
Inauguration MoldavaMoldova saw the commissioning of an assembly line for vacuum tube collectors in what used to be the large halls of a manufacturing plant. The owner of the premises is Raut, based in the city of Balti, who repurposed the location after succeeding in the government’s tender invitation at the end of 2016. The line, funded by the Polish government and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), was implemented based on a technology partnership with Makroterm, a vacuum tube collector assembler from Cracow, Poland. The photo shows Dragos Pidleac, the then Director of Moldova’s Energy Efficiency Agency, and Manuel Mattiat from UNIDO (left and right, respectively, with an interpreter in the middle) during the inauguration. 
Photo: UNIDO
 

Italy: 10,000 m² ORC-Connected Fresnel and Parabolic Trough Fields

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 19, 2017
Fresnel Collector Field ItalyItaly’s feed-in tariff for medium-size concentrating solar power plants has supported the installation of a 10,000 m² Fresnel collector array in Sardinia (see photo). The mirrors have been in operation since spring this year and are connected to an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) unit with 600 kW of nominal electric power. Construction for a second demonstration system, a 5 MWth parabolic trough field linked to an ORC turbine, is currently underway in Sicily. Both installations heat thermal oil to between 250 and 300 °C and use it to transfer heat directly from the solar panels to the ORC units by Italian-based Turboden, bringing their electrical efficiency to up to 25 %.
Photo: CSP-F (FERA Group)
 

Mexico: New Idea Exchange on Solar Process Heat

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 18, 2017
Mexico Platform MeetingDuring an event in Mexico City on 30 August, a collaboration agreement was signed to establish a platform for promoting solar heat in Mexico. The partners in this project are ANES, the national solar energy association; DKTI Solar, the Large-Scale Solar Energy Programme by the German Agency for International Cooperation; and CONUEE, the National Commission for Energy Efficiency. The agreement is intended to result in an inter-institutional platform, to which stakeholders will contribute at their own expense.
Photo: GIZ México
 

Argentina: New Solar Chamber to Push for National Incentives

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 13, 2017
SWH ArgentinaThe first time that the new Cámara Argentina de Fabricantes de Equipos de Energía Solar Térmica (CAFEEST) (Argentine Chamber of Solar Thermal Equipment Manufacturers) was presented to a wider audience was on 4 September in Buenos Aires. The chamber’s assembly meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Industry. Currently, CAFEEST has 20 members, mostly manufacturers, and seven more may join soon. Dardo Allaragüe, President of CAFEEST and head of Montajes Rosario, a solar system supplier, said that the objective was to support a growing local industry, help create jobs and participate in implementing standards and certification schemes. There’s also a new law being discussed in parliament to further solar thermal installations, rules and incentives across the country. 
Photo: Montajes Rosario
 

Serbia: EU Supports 903 m² Solar District Heating Installation

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 3, 2017
Banat sun 4 all Throughout the last years, the EU has been criticised for many things, and the UK has now been the first to decide on leaving. Still, there are good examples of how the union can benefit even non-member countries. For instance, there is a project called Energy Efficiency – The Premise of a Better Environment in Romania-Serbia Cross-Border Area, which was presented at the Energy Week in Belgrade in mid-June. This joint effort of two cities in the Banat region, Pancevo in Serbia and Resita in Romania, required EUR 1.4 million, mostly financed by the EU as part of the Interreg – IPA CBC Program Romania-Serbia Programme.
 

MENA/Chile: Concentrating Solar Benchmark Costs

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 25, 2017
SunShotA tender for 94.5 USD/MWhel in Dubai and an R&D initiative called SunShot in the United States have shown how the cost of concentrated solar power (CSP) could be lowered at a steady pace thanks to economies of scale and optimised manufacturing and operation. Though the solar power market has been the driver for most of these developments, their outcomes are likewise relevant to solar thermal, where concentrating technologies have been used to provide heating or cooling for industrial processes. Two recent webinars organised by Spanish-based consultancy ATA Insights and focused on CSP in the MENA region and Chile had developers and researchers discuss the main drivers for cost cutting and the technology outlook in the short and medium term. The chart illustrates the SunShot aim to bring down the cost of parabolic trough collectors from around 200 USD/m² to 75 USD/m².
Source: Department of Energy, USA
 

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