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World Bank Supports Solar Concentrating Solutions for Industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 23, 2017
Poll ResultsOn 18 October 2017, speakers from three continents joined a webinar initiated by the World Bank and the Clean Technology Fund and hosted by Spanish-based consultancy ATA Insights to talk about opportunities for concentrating solar thermal in industry. Martin Haagen from Industrial Solar, a German-based Fresnel collector manufacturer, analysed solar heat in industry at the macro-level. Rodrigo Mancilla, Executive Director of the Chilean Economic Development Agency, CORFO, gave his thoughts on solar heat in mining, and Eyas Al-Zadjali, Project Development Manager at Glasspoint based in Oman, spoke about the ongoing construction work for Miraah, a plant to generate solar steam for enhanced oil recovery. Additionally, opinion polls during the event asked, for example, what the around 270 participants thought was the best public support mechanism to kick-start concentrating solar thermal deployment (see the screenshot above).
 

Sweden’s Solar Heat Market on Hold

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 20, 2017
The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) programme has recently updated its country report on Sweden’s solar thermal industry, pointing out the increasing competition with other energy technologies and the factors exacerbating the decline in sales. It seems as if not even the rather high national carbon tax can reinvigorate the country’s solar heat market. Especially in the residential segment, fossil fuels have already been phased out and biomass boilers plus district heating have become the standard in cities, while heat pumps dominate in rural areas. The photo shows a solar facade with vacuum tube collectors in the Swedish city of Malmö. 
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

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.

Ukraine’s Largest Collector Field Installed at Mariupol Port

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 13, 2017
Sint SolarSeptember saw the commissioning of Ukraine’s largest solar thermal system. Its 252 flat plate units add up to 518 m² of gross collector area and supply heat to the showers and kitchens at Mariupol, a major trading port on the Sea of Azov, near the Black Sea. The renovation of the boiler building hasn’t been completed yet, so that the solar installation will only be fully operational next year.
Photo: Sintek
 

Solar District Heating: How to Tackle Land Use Issues

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 11, 2017
SDH double useUsually, solar district heating (SDH) plants require large fields for collector installations, which has raised concerns at local level because of competing land uses and a system’s potential visual impact on the surroundings. One way out of this dilemma is to combine heat generation and fruit and vegetable harvest (see illustration). As part of SDHp2m…From Policy to Market, a Horizon 2020 project, some regions are looking to create regulations based on best practice examples of land use or spatial heat planning. This article will present showcases from the Styria region in Austria, Hamburg in Germany and Valle d’Aosta in Italy (see also the attached fact sheets).
Graphic: Hamburg Institut Research
 

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.
 

IEA SHC Task 56: Cooperation on Energy Balance and Building Design Tools

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 5, 2017
Task 56 meetingFacades of residential and tertiary buildings offer enough space for daylight control and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. Active envelope solutions include facade-integrated solar thermal collectors, PV panels, daylight control systems or panels containing ventilation units with heat recovery and/or a heat pump with all necessary connectors. Optimising their performance and building integration has been one of the main objectives of an international research programme called Building Integrated Solar Envelope Systems for HVAC and Lighting, also known as Task 56 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. The photo shows the around 20 task experts who met at Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, on 21–22 September.
Photo: EURAC
 

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
 

IEA SHC Task 52: Solar Thermal’s Role in 2050 Energy Mix

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 29, 2017
Collector Installation in HamburgWhat role solar thermal will play in the energy sector in 2050 is one of the principal questions that the international Task 52 research project Solar Heat and Energy Economics in Urban Environments intends to answer. As part of this IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme task, Denmark’s Aalborg University chose four major solar thermal countries in Europe – Austria, Denmark, Germany and Italy – to model their 2050 solar share in national heat production. The university’s estimates range from 3 to 12 % based on country and scenario, which would require 4 to 175 million m² of collector area in each of the four nations. The solar share of all four was rather similar in high penetration scenarios, although climate, energy demand and network design vary significantly. That’s why the researchers from Aalborg concluded that “the findings can be applied to a variety of energy systems, including in countries that are not directly part of this study.” They also underlined the importance solar thermal could have in reducing pressure on scarce resources such as biomass.
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

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