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Certification

Associations Kick off European Solar Thermal Energy Standardisation & Certification Working Group

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 4, 2013

Four major solar and heating associations in Europe jointly kicked off the ESTESC working group in Berlin at the end of November. ESTESC stands for European Solar Thermal Energy Standardisation & Certification. The four associations are the two Brussels-based associations European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) and the Association of the European Heating Industry (EHI), as well as German associations BSW Solar and the Federal Industrial Association of Germany - House, Energy and Environmental Technology, BDH. All members of the four organisations have been invited to become active participants of a number of subgroups within the ESTECS working group. Christian Stadler, Technical Head at Austrian company General Solar Systems, was elected Chair of the ESTESC for the next three years. He started his career in the solar thermal industry in 1991 and worked in leading positions at 4 different collector manufacturers. Since 2008, he has been responsible for product management, development and strategic sourcing at General Solar Systems with its major brand Sonnenkraft.
Photo: General Solar Systems

South Africa: Rollout Delay Due to “70 % local production”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 19, 2013

Five years ago, the South African government launched its National Solar Water Heating Programme (NSWHP), aiming to install one million domestic Solar Water Heating (SWH) systems by 2014. Relief needed to come soon to South Africa´s overburdened power grid, which is why state-owned electricity provider Eskom implemented the NSWHP in form of a grant scheme. According to a presentation from 28 August 2013 by Mokgadi Modise, Chief Director of Clean Energy at the Department of Energy (DoE), the programme had led to the installation of 375,650 solar water heaters until 9 August 2013. The pie chart shows the distribution of subsidised solar systems across the South African provinces. The government had recently allocated an additional South African Rand (ZAR) 4.7 billion (ca. EUR 337 million) to speed up SWH installation, as mentioned in the presentation (see the attached document).
Source: Department of Energy

COPANT: One Common Standard - Better than 31 Different Ones?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 6, 2013

To date, solar thermal energy has been a largely unregulated technology in Latin America. Most of the countries in the region are suffering from nationalised, uncoordinated and sometimes insufficient quality standards. This lack of agreement is hindering the development of a shared and mature market. The regional Pan American Standards Commission, COPANT, is now working to address the issue by creating a unified regional standard and certification scheme for solar thermal components and systems. Although it is believed that a common standard and certification could ease current trade barriers, some market players think that, depending on the kind of regulation, it could create further obstacles to trade and technology exchange.

India: TERI Sets Targets for Large Buildings with GRIHA Label

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 5, 2013

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a policy research organisation, has created a tool to measure and evaluate a building's environmental performance. The tool was developed in the context of India's varied climate and building practices, called Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA). GRIHA quantifies parameters, such as energy consumption, waste generation and renewable energy adoption, over the entire lifecycle of the building. The GRIHA housing label was first introduced in 2010, with the aim of incentivising the construction of cleaner and more sustainable buildings. In April 2013, TERI announced that it will aim at making government and private buildings totalling 15 million m2 of floor space compliant with GRIHA within three years.
Photo: Greentech Knowledge Solutions

Czech Republic: Rapid Market Consolidation

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 1, 2013

Vermos, VK Technik and Láf Nerez are all former Czech producers or assemblers of solar thermal collectors which started in the 90s and closed down their business over the last three years. In 2008, there were twelve collector manufacturers in the Eastern European country. Seven have disappeared in the meantime or are planning to do so over the coming months, such as Solarplus and Svoboda. These are some of the results of the annual surveys from German market research agency solrico. Most of the collector manufacturers blame the worsening situation on the new national incentive programme Nová Zelená Úsporám. The scheme will most likely not create an additional 70,000 jobs as promised by the former Minister of Environment, Tomáš Chalupa (see photo) – at least not in the solar thermal sector.
Photo: Martin Divíšek/denik.cz

Global Collector Test Standard Incorporates New Technologies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 24, 2013

The final version of the EN ISO 9806 was approved by the international standard committees CEN/TC 312 and ISO TC180 with more than 90 % of the votes shortly before their meetings in Freiburg, Germany, in the middle of September. This is an important milestone for the solar thermal industry, because it marks the first time that there will be a modern global standard for collector testing procedures which different countries can refer to. In addition, the new standard includes testing methodology for a number of new solar thermal technologies, such as solar air heating collectors, concentrating medium-temperature collectors and PVT collectors. Now, it will only be a matter of weeks until the standard is handed down to the national standardisation secretariats and, over the coming month, distributed through their national publication channels.
Photo: Solarwall

European Energy Label: A+++ for Solar Packages in 2015

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 5, 2013

On 6 September 2013, the official journal of the European Commission published the regulations for the eco-design and energy labelling of water, space and combi heaters under the Ecodesign Directive (2005/32/EC). The documents were also translated into all EU-member states’ languages. Until now, this has been the latest official step after an eight-year political process. It also marks the start of a two-year transition period up to September 2015 when the regulations will come into effect.
Figure: vA Consult

Bulgaria: CL SENES – Hard Times for Well-established Solar Research Centre

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 6, 2013

Next to the Tsarigradsko Chaussee, an important road artery leading to the outskirts of Sofia, one can make out a vast research area belonging to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). On its campus, some scientists produce food for astronauts, others focus on solar energy (see photo). The Central Laboratory of Solar Energy and New Energy Sources (CL SENES) was founded in 1978 and played an important role in the energy efficiency programme of Todor Zhivkov´s government until the fall of communism in 1989. The lab’s research was focussed on using solar thermal energy to heat water in state-owned hotels and enterprises. Back then, some 50,000 m² of solar collectors were installed mainly along the Black Sea coast.
Photo: Frank Stier

UK: Domestic RHI Tariff Applies to Installations After 15 July 2009

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 5, 2013

In July 2013 the UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) confirmed the tariff rates for the long-awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The Government’s press release at 12 July 2013 promises that the solar thermal tariff will be set at ‘at least 19.2 Pound Stirling pence (p)/kWh’. This compares with 7.3 p/kWh for air source heat pumps, 12.2 p/kWh for biomass boilers and 18.8 p/kWh for ground source heat pumps.

Costa Rica: Small Market but Prestigious Large-Scale Projects

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 23, 2013

Costa Rica’s local solar thermal industry has been getting organised: The Solar Energy Association of Costa Rica, Acesolar, was officially founded last year. In early 2013, all formal issues were resolved and Acesolar was able to start working. Currently, the association has around twenty members. In February, a committee began developing a national standard for solar thermal systems. Cheap vacuum tubes from China are currently very popular. The photo shows one of the recent prestigious large-scale solar projects, which was finished in April 2013. The installation at the MultiSpa consists of 64 glazed flat plate collectors covering the hot water demand and 320 m² of unglazed collectors to heat the Olympic-size pool.
Photo: Acesolar

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