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Producing hot water underneath natural slates

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 6, 2018
Castle in Ghent, BelgiumA state-of-the-art solar thermal system has been installed under the slate roof of a castle in Ghent, Belgium. Roll-bonded Thermoslate absorbers measuring 44 m² have been integrated into the space between the wooden trusses and natural slate tiles of the historic structure built in the 12th century and cannot be seen by visitors. The slates are a product by Spanish-based Cupa Pizarras, a member of the Renovating Historic Buildings Towards Zero Carbon research platform created by the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme, or IEA SHC. 
Photo: Spotter 2

New standard to improve energy performance of historic buildings

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 5, 2018
Photo: Trimmel Wall ArchitectsMaintaining the exterior of a historic building while raising energy efficiency is not necessarily a contradiction. The new EN 16883:2017 standard, Conservation of cultural heritage, provides guidance on how to improve the energy performance of historically significant structures. A group made up of 45 experts from 12 countries had mapped out the guidelines for six years before they were published by the European Committee for Standardisation in June 2017. Researchers working for the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme, also known as IEA SHC, are now on the lookout for suitable case studies to evaluate processes and assessments proposed in the standard. The photo shows a convent in Vienna, Austria, which was built in 1904 and renovated in 2013.
Photo: Trimmel Wall Architects 

Solar Keymark Network gets new chairman

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 7, 2018
Andreas BohrenThe Solar Keymark Network meeting held in Spain this March saw a new chairman, Andreas Bohren (see photo), leading a reshaped organisation. From now on, the members of the network, also known as SKN, will have a physical meeting in spring and an online one in autumn. Votes can be held in between and in 2019, the former head of the CEN/TC 312 committee, Vassiliki Drosou from Greece, will replace Jan Erik Nielsen from Denmark as the manager of SKN. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Bohren, who works at the Swiss-based SPF – Institute of Solar Technology, to learn more about his objectives.
Photo: Solar Heat Europe

EU labelling: “Solar devices to be classified as heaters”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 22, 2018
Image: Solar Heating InitiativeThe German-based Solar Heating Initiative has developed a new calculation method to label solar thermal systems based on the Ecodesign Directive 2005/32/EC. It put the method, which allows for a fair assessment of solar thermal energy input into a heating system, forward for consideration in February, at a stakeholder meeting organised by Dutch-based consultancy Van Holsteijn en Kemna, also known as VHK. Together with BRG Building Solutions, the company has been appointed by the European Commission to carry out a review of the eco-design and labelling regulations on water heaters and tanks.
Image: Solar Heating Initiative

Three labels in Europe – what are the differences?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 22, 2018
collector labels Solergy (left) and Solar Keymark (centre top) as well as the EU Energy Efficiency label (right)Labels and trademarks should give the end-consumer a clear feedback on the quality and performance of the labelled product. Currently there are three labels available for solar products or solar assisted heating systems in Europe, so there is an increasing need to explain the differences to market players as well as customers. The chart above shows the two voluntary collector labels Solergy (left) and Solar Keymark (centre top) as well as the EU Energy Efficiency label (right) which is obligatory for water, space and combi heaters under the Energy Labelling (ELD) and the Ecodesign (EDD) Directives  since September 2015. 

On-site collector testing: new standard in development

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 17, 2018
Photo: Riccardo BattistiOnce a large solar field is set up at its designated location, what tests can be conducted to show that it performs as expected? Soon, the IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme may have an answer to this question, as it is working on internationalising Denmark’s testing procedure. No decision has been made on whether the procedure will become part of a full-fledged standard or be turned into a technical specification. 
Photo: Riccardo Battisti

Indian manufacturers face strong competition from Chinese imports

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 20, 2018
Photo: Jaideep N. MalaviyaVacuum tube-based solar water heaters imported from China are posing a serious threat to the viability of domestic manufacturing in India. This was the key message from the STFI, the Solar Thermal Federation of India, at a mid-January consultation meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce. The committee had invited several stakeholders to attend the meeting to discuss the Impact of cheap Chinese consumer goods on the Indian industry. Nowadays, three of every four solar water heaters are imported from China, resulting in a loss of local employment.
Photo: Jaideep N. Malaviya
 

Spain: Stakeholder Platform Solplat to Promote New Applications

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 14, 2017
SolplatOn 4 October 2017, the Spanish Ministry of Economy hosted the first general meeting of the newly created Technology Platform on Low Temperature Solar Thermal, Solplat. Funded by the ministry and promoted by Spain’s solar association ASIT, the umbrella platform was created to help companies, public authorities and universities support and improve segments which have seen fairly little market penetration to date. Examples are district heating, solar process heat and Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs).
 

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.
 

UNIDO India: Great Potential and Efforts to Increase Awareness of Concentrating Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 2, 2016
Dr Anil MisraThe new interest subvention scheme for Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) technologies administrated by the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is now open for applications. The scheme has been developed in cooperation with the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) during the GEF-UNIDO-MNRE project, which focuses on increasing the deployment of concentrating solar thermal systems for process heat applications in India. “Technology providers or beneficiaries can use a short-term bridge loan at normal interest rates for pre-financing the 30 % capital subsidy that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy grants for CST technologies,” explained Dr Anil Misra, National Project Manager at UNIDO (see photo). IREDA also hands out long-term loans covering up to 45 % of the benchmark system cost at 5 % lower-than-usual interest rates. The remaining 25 % are required as equity by the beneficiary.
 

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