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IEA Study: “Renewable energy for heat deserves greater attention”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 6, 2014

In April, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published the paper “Heating Without Global Warming. Market Development and Policy Considerations for Renewable Heat”. The 92-page study looks at today’s renewable energy use for heat and at its future prospects and development needs (see the attached document). The IEA study is an important document, because it has been the first IEA publication focusing on the renewable heating sector for five years and it includes the three technologies bioenergy, solar thermal and geothermal. Paolo Frankl, Head of the IEA’s Renewable Energy Division in Paris, France, had already announced the study at the international conference SHC 2013 in Freiburg last year. “We want to raise the attention for renewable heat technologies in the policy arena through analysing and making scenarios,” Frankl explained in an interview with solarthermalworld.org.
Source: IEA

Portugal: “Good legislation, bad economy”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 28, 2014
ApisolarThe Portuguese solar thermal industry is still facing a difficult time: With 57,234 m² (30 MWth) of newly installed collector area, market volume in 2013 was down to the level of 2007, according to the annual statistics of Apisolar, the Portuguese national solar industry association (see the attached document). The blue bars show the annually installed collector area (left side) and collector capacity (right). The red cubes just illustrate the trend. “Good legislation, bad economy,” is how Apisolar’s Vice President Solar Thermal, Victor Júlio, describes the current situation. The economy is far from recovering, but there is a silver lining on the horizon: A new building legislation that came into force in December 2013 has made the installation of solar water heating systems mandatory for non-residential buildings. 
Source: Apisolar
 

Austria: European Buildings Directive Demands Better Interaction of Building Technologies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 2, 2014
WelsThe coming years will see a sharp increase in the market uptake of highly energy-efficient buildings across Europe: According to the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD, 2010/31/EU), all new buildings must be Nearly-Zero Energy Buildings by 2020 - public buildings already by 2018. The European Nearly Zero Energy Buildings Conference, which took place in Wels, Austria, from 27 to 28 February 2014, was dedicated to buildings that fulfil these high efficiency standards and are supplied by renewable energy sources. It was part of the World Sustainable Energy Days (WSED), one of Europe’s largest annual conferences in the field of sustainable energy. The Wels conference had more than 750 participants from 59 countries this year.
Photo: WSED
 

South Korea: Renewable Building Obligation Increases Market Size

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 8, 2014
At the end of December 2013, South Korea published the official 2012 statistics for the national solar thermal market. The country saw the installation of an additional 63,774 m² of glazed collector area – a plus of 17 % compared to 2011 (see detailed 2011 statistics) and a decrease by 9% compared to 2010. The chart shows the share of the different installation sizes in the newly installed collector area in 2012. Every fifth collector was part of a solar thermal field of more than 300 m² – definitely a high number. Only one-third of the total market volume was installed as part of small units with less than 12 m2. All state subsidy schemes and obligations mandate collector certification. According to industry representatives, there is an unofficial market with non-certified systems, whose size is difficult to estimate. 
Source: Korea New & Renewable Energy Center (KNREC)

Iran: POMAco’s View on Iranian Solar Thermal Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 16, 2013

After Iran’s elections in June and the new government taking over in August, hopes are that solar thermal could become an increasingly important technology in the Mideast country. Hossein Riyahi Dehkordi, Managing Director of Iranian solar company Polar Mehr Iranian - POMAco, expects the new government to improve the existing incentive schemes for solar thermal. “New investments and more support for green energy are in reach,” he says. But there has not yet been any specific announcement on how the improvement would look like. The photo shows the solar thermal installation in a public bath, the most common application for solar water heaters in Iran. The following article relies mainly on information from Mr Dehkordi, who gave an exclusive interview to solarthermalworld.org. POMAco is a joint-venture of Iranian company Solar Polar, a subsidiary of heating system specialist Polar Industrial Group and a collector manufacturer since 1999, and solar thermal system importer Taban Mehr Taksa, which is part of the Iranian Taksa Trade Development Group.
Photo: ITW/University of Stuttgart

Hawaii: Results of Three Years of Solar Obligation

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 3, 2013

Since Act 204 “mandating” solar water heating systems on all new single-family dwellings came into force in January 2010, the number of new residential houses equipped with a solar water heater has risen to 75 % in Hawaii. This is the conclusion from the statistics published by Hawaiian distributor Inter-Island Solar Supply (IISS). Before the mandate, only 40 % of the new residential homes in Hawaii had solar water heaters, estimates Ron Richmond. The Business Development Manager of IISS and former member of the Board of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association (HSEA), however, thinks that there is still room for improvement: The new houses require no independent third-party inspection, because homeowners do not receive any funding from local utilities.
Source: IISS gathering official data

Argentina: Other Municipalities Follow Frontrunner City Rosario

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 7, 2013

Two years after the approval of the first local ordinance making it obligatory to install solar thermal systems in Rosario, Argentina, the regulation entered into force in September 2012 (see the attached document). Since then, all public buildings in the city have had to cover at least 50 % of their hot water consumption through solar energy. Ordinance 8784 could set an example for other cities in Argentina. Red de Ciudades Solares (Solar City Network) is lobbying to adopt the measure in several other municipalities and has even proposed a nationwide regulation.

Database of Building Codes: 24 Individual Regulations

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 25, 2013

Sometimes, it takes a while until good ideas are copied. This has been the case with solar/renewable building codes, which were invented in Israel more than 30 years ago. It has just been over the last ten years, however, that this political instrument reached all five continents. Frontrunner in Europe was Spain, which approved the Technical Building Code, CTE, in March 2006. It stipulates that new residential buildings and those undergoing major renovation must cover 30 to 70 % of their hot water demand by renewable energies. Outside Europe, it was the Australian state of Victoria which, in 2005, implemented the first building standard after Israel had done so two decades earlier. Israel’s building code lets private homeowners choose between two options - a solar water heater or a rainwater tank - in case of newly built houses and major renovations. In the meantime, the database of solar obligations on solarthermalworld.org has grown further and now includes 24 countries which use one of the various types of solar or renewable building codes. You will find the database by filtering on --> policy --> obligation.
Source: solrico

Uruguay: Growing at Its Own Pace

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 15, 2013

Uruguay’s government aims at reaching a renewable share of 50% in its national energy mix by 2015. In order to achieve this target, the government approved the so-called Solar Plan in March 2012. It offers up to USD 800 per solar thermal system to clients of the main public utility UTE. UTE reduces the energy bill of any SWH purchaser Uruguayan Peso (UYU) 700 over the first 24 months (UYU 16,800 = USD 800). In addition, the new Decreto No 451/011 mandates a 50 % solar share for hot water generation in hospitals, hotels and sports clubs – for both newly built and soon-to-be-renovated houses. However, some industry actors did not see a dramatic growth in solar thermal installations. Despite a lack of official statistics, one figure is clear: The subsidy scheme offers a budget for 2,000 systems, out of which 600 were already completed between March 2012 and July 2013.

Albania: New Energy Law Shows Country’s Strong Commitment to Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 25, 2013

The new Albanian law on Renewable Energy Sources No. 138/2013 from 2 May 2013, which was published in the Official Gazette No. 83 on 20 May 2013, requires builders to adhere to a minimum share of solar thermal heat for certain building types. Furthermore, the so-called RES Law exempts solar thermal systems and components from custom tariffs and Value Added Tax (VAT) altogether. Starting from the day the law was enacted on 20 May 2013, the government has 6 to 12 months to create the bylaws which should state precisely how the new law will be implemented. The RES Law is the first Albanian law addressing SWH systems in particular (see the attached legal document in Albanian) and representing an important part of Albania’s renewable energy policy. It, however, remains unclear how the budget to refinance the tax exemptions is to be allocated and whether the building regulations will be as effective as expected.
Photo: Endrit Mema

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