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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.
 

India: Three New Standards – One Each for Vacuum Tube Collectors, Storage Tanks and Complete Systems

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 25, 2016
BIS VTC IndiaThe Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has published new regulations on all-glass evacuated solar collector tubes and related storage tanks of non-concentrating solar collector systems. Indian Standard (IS) 16542 : 2016 describes the storage tank’s specifications, IS 16543 : 2016 names the ones for tubes, and IS 16544 : 2016 covers the ones for complete systems. To obtain the three new standards, a company or individual will have to purchase them at BIS. Once the government notification has been published, all three will become mandatory and require that each tube or storage tank should carry the standard’s mark in addition to the manufacturer’s trademark and the batch number or date of manufacture. A transition period is to be set by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). The photo shows vacuum tube systems on the roof of a block of flats in Kolkata city in eastern India.
Photo: Jaideep Malaviya
 

Mexico: Ongoing Struggle over Legally Binding Standards

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 24, 2016
CONUEEDespite being the most robust solar thermal market across North and South America in terms of growth (8 % YoY in 2015), Mexico is still struggling domestically to harmonise its quality standards for solar thermal heaters. The lack of understanding between local producers and equipment importers has been the main hurdle to legally binding and uniform rules. However, the process is ongoing and the market’s stakeholders expect a draft of the official NOM-027-ENER-2015 to be available for public consultation by the end of 2016.
Chart: CONUEE
 

Europe: Solar Keymark Network to Improve Complaint Procedures

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 31, 2016
The Solar Keymark Network has decided to establish a working group in order to revise and improve the complaint procedures and put them into one document, as they have so far been described in several different papers and various articles: The Solar Keymark Scheme Rules, Article 2.2, includes instructions on how to handle complaints and there is Article 6.3. Special Test, whereas the CEN-CENELEC Internal Regulations Part 4, Article 7.4, describes the appeal procedures (see the attached documents). This move is deemed necessary because at the end of 2015 – for the first time since the Solar Keymark label was launched – several complaints were submitted to one of the empowered certification bodies. “In our network meeting, we informed the members about the first big complaint and discussed the need for putting the complaint procedures into one document, to make it clearer for the solar thermal industry how to use them,” said Jaime Fernández González-Granda, Chairman of the Solar Keymark Network and Product Officer at the Spanish certification and standardisation body, AENOR. 
 

Germany: One Week, Three Global Solar Certification and Standardisation Meetings in Berlin

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 17, 2016
Between 8 and 11 March, Berlin will be the venue of choice for standard and certification experts from all corners of the globe. Then, the city will host three international meetings to discuss standard and certification issues at European and global level: First, there is the meeting of the Solar Keymark Network (SKN), which will be held on 8 and 9 March and will be headed by Jaime Fernández González-Granda (left); second, there is the one of the Global Solar Certification Network on 10 March led by Harald Drück (middle). The third event that will take place in the same week is the kick-off meeting of the newly created Task 57, Solar Standards and Certification, which will be held on 10 and 11 March and will be headed by Jan Erik Nielsen (right).

Germany/Belgium: Container Solutions to Standardise Commercial Solar Thermal Systems

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 2, 2016
Aschoff SolarStandardisation and prefabrication of solar thermal systems remains key to the delivery of high quality, cost-optimised solutions. Solar pumping and refilling stations attached to and insulated with the storage tank have already been standard in residential systems in Central Europe. Current developments from German system supplier Aschoff Solar and Belgium system supplier Sunoptimo show that prefabricated solutions are also possible for large-scale, commercial systems between 50 m² and 2,000 m² of collector area. Both companies use containers equipped with a storage tank and all other hydraulic components. The photo shows the most current installation of Aschoff Solar at the Severin Sea Lodge in Mombasa, Kenya. The 260 m² vacuum tube installation on the roof provides hot water for the guest and staff lodges, with one container including the storage tank and the hydraulic.
Photos: Aschoff Solar

Quality Infrastructure Crucial to Emerging Markets

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 11, 2016
IRENA 2In December 2015, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published a comprehensive report on how to establish a quality infrastructure (QI) for solar water heaters on small-scale markets (see the attached document). The 76-page study is part of a series on Quality Infrastructure for Renewable Energy, which uses information from 83 survey respondents and data from interviews with 34 experts on QIs for renewable energy sources. The report discusses established international system and collector testing standards as well as examples of implementation across selected countries. It also highlights market barriers and makes recommendations for developing solar water heater Qis, focusing mainly on emerging markets. The programme highlights the complexity of a quality infrastructure, including the establishment of a product label, test labs, installers’ certification and the involvement of inspection bodies.
Source: IRENA
 

Uruguay: The Battle for Market Growth Continues

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 23, 2015
Uruguay market developmentUruguay, whose population of 3.4 million makes it one of the smallest countries in Latin America, has shown positive market development since 2007. Cumulated installed solar thermal power saw a notable increase from 1 to 9.5 kWth per 1,000 inhabitants. According to numbers published by the National Energy Department and the annual national energy report, the country’s total collector area installed by the end of 2014 amounted to 46,241 m². Mesa Solar, the multi-sector network for the promotion of solar energy in Uruguay calls for accelerated growth to achieve 1 million m² in 2020. The official target of the government is 150,000 m² until 2024.
Source: Construcción y operación de Bancos ensayo de Solar Térmica en Uruguay, presentation held in San José, Costa Rica, on 29 June 2015
 

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