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The slow but steady growth of Russia’s solar thermal industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 2, 2018
Photo: New PolusThe Russian collector industry is growing steadily, despite a lack of state support and the impact of the financial crisis. This has been the key message of a Ministry of Industry and Trade report broadcasted on the popular Channel 1 on TV and confirmed by solar thermal expert Professor Vitaly Butuzov. Butuzov estimates that Russia saw the installation of around 2,000 m² of collector area last year. According to the professor, the figure is slightly above the one for 2016, when a total of 500 m² was installed in the form of small systems in addition to the 736 m² collector field commissioned one year later at the Sochi railway station.
Photo: New Polus

Solar cooling demand on the rise in Italy, Spain and the Middle East

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 27, 2018
Photo: TVPSorption chillers may still be a niche market, but Europe’s manufacturers reported rising demand for solar thermal cooling in Italy, Spain and the Middle East in 2017. Solar thermal numbers are on the rise because of three factors: the potential to reduce power consumption, including peak loads; the option to use natural refrigerants, such as water; and the ability to provide demand-responsive heating and cooling throughout the year. The photo shows the solar-cooled headquarters of Agility, a logistics business based in Kuwait. The 234 m² of evacuated flat plate collectors which provide the building with energy can be seen behind it. 
Photo: TVP

German associations partner up to promote sustainable cooling

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 27, 2018
Logos solar coolingIn early 2018, two German organisations agreed on a joint membership model to promote solar thermal air conditioning and cooling, a niche market in the country. The cooperation between the Green Chiller Association for Sorption Cooling and the Central Association for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps, or ZVKKW for short, is hoped to popularise innovative and sustainable cooling solutions. According to a survey among members of the Green Chiller Association, some companies have shifted away from solar-powered sorption cooling because they consider systems combining solar PV and split air conditioning units to have greater economic benefits, especially if the cooling season is short. Others are increasingly using waste heat to run sorption chillers. 

Solar industrial heat market – a 2017 survey

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 26, 2018
Image: solar-payback.com/suppliers2017 was a record year for systems providing solar heat for industrial processes, since at least 110 large ones adding up to 192,580 m² were put into operation. This has been the result of a survey among around 80 turnkey suppliers currently listed on the SHIP Supplier World Map, created by the international Solar Payback project. The total at the end of 2017 stood at approximately 635 SHIP systems, a 21 % increase over the 525 installations which a similar survey showed in early 2017.
Image: solar-payback.com/suppliers

Parabolic trough collector production line shipped to China

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 24, 2018
Photo: AbsoliconAbsolicon, a Swedish supplier of concentrating solar thermal technology, has recently delivered its first production line to a Chinese company. The equipment to manufacture parabolic trough collectors, which the Swedish business developed in-house, arrived in China in mid-April. The line is now being set up at Heli New Energy Technology, in the country’s southwestern province of Sichuan. The photo, which dates from December 2016, shows the partners involved in the project after they signed the purchase agreement for the system. Heli New Energy is a joint venture between two Chinese companies, namely Xinkun, a family-owned manufacturer, and Jointeam, an energy project developer.
Photo: Absolicon 

Solar showers for displaced people and refugees

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 20, 2018
Logo UNHCRThe UN Refugee Agency has begun ordering solar water heaters to improve the sanitary conditions in Ugandan refugee camps. The news ties in neatly with the first conference on Energy for Displaced People: A Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy Solutions in Situations of Displacement, an event which took place in mid-January in Berlin, Germany, and was attended by more than 100 delegates. The participants agreed to “lay the groundwork for the first-ever global, multi-stakeholder plan to ensure that crisis-affected people gain access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services by 2030.”

First heliostat field made in Brazil

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 19, 2018
Photo: USPThe University of São Paulo in Pirassununga (see photo) is about to get its own field of heliostats on campus. Once completed, the sea of mirrors will focus sunlight onto a receiver connected to an Organic Rankine Cycle system. The heat transfer fluid will be ambient air. The ORC turbine ‘waste’, hot water at 90 °C, will be directed to a nearby abattoir. The demonstration plant is part of SMILE, which is short for Solar-Hybrid Microturbine Systems for Cogeneration in Agro-Industrial Electricity and Heat Production.
Photo: USP

“Contract market fluctuates from year to year”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 17, 2018
Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark2017 was a difficult year for solar district heating supplier Arcon-Sunmark based in Denmark. The collector manufacturer’s turnover dropped from Danish Krone (DKK) 457 million, or USD 75 million, to DKK 98 million, or USD 16.2 million, according to a press release published on 21 March 2018. The uncertain country’s energy policy caused a delay in the launch of new SDH projects in the second half of 2016. Consequently, pre-tax profit went from DKK 46 million (USD 7.6 million) in 2016 to minus DKK 99 million (USD 16.3 million) in 2017. “We have made the necessary adjustments. At the same time, we have invested in retaining the clear market leader position that we achieved over the years,” Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark (see photo), said.

Sweden: Pioneer of solar district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 13, 2018
Chart: Sven WernerWhen it comes to district heating, Sweden has made the switch from fossil fuels to biomass and waste heat (see chart). As early as 2015, biomass provided 46 % of the energy in district heating networks across the country, followed by 24 % from waste incineration and 8 % from industrial excess heat. Fossil fuels came only to about 7 % of the around 175 petajoules, or PJ, produced in Sweden in 2015 (latest data available). These percentages, and the chart, were taken from a 2017 paper titled District heating and cooling in Sweden, written by Sven Werner, Professor Emeritus at the Swedish Halmstad University. Sweden is one of the participating countries of Task 55 Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into DHC Networks of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling programme. The researchers plan to publish a report with country portraits of selected solar district heating markets in 2019. 
Chart: Sven Werner

Second winter for 75,000 m² SDH heating system in Inner Mongolia

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 11, 2018
Photo: Sohu.comSince October 2016, a 75,000 m² parabolic trough collector field for district heat seems to have been operating in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in China. Ruicheng Zheng from the China Academy of Building Research and Hongzhi Cheng said that they had heard about the system, but that all the information on it was only available online. On 28 December 2017, a news article appeared on sohu.com, one of China’s largest online media companies, stating that the system supplied a shopping centre and a development project known as ZhongCheng International City in the village of HongQing De, near Baotou. The journalist who interviewed the owners of the residential buildings and the shopping centre found customers satisfied with the solar space heating that the system provides. 
Photo: Sohu.com

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