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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

Trinidad and Tobago: Government’s Solar Thermal System Quality Push

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 16, 2013

The highly gas-dependent island state of Trinidad and Tobago off the coast of Venezuela is beginning to add renewable energies in its energy mix. Solar thermal technology has been profiting from several types of tax incentives since the beginning of 2011 and has also been part of the country’s energy strategy. Doodnath Singh from the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) spoke about the financial schemes and about the challenges with quality and product certification at the Mexican workshop Quality Assurance for Solar Water Heaters in September 2012 (see the attached presentation).
Figure: Wikipedia

Canada/Germany: Enerconcept’s Lubi Collectors Eligible for BAFA Grants

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 8, 2013

Good news from Germany for Canadian air collector manufacturer Enerconcept: The company has completed its collector tests for the Lubi wall and the roof-mounted Luba GL at the Fraunhofer ISE institute in Freiburg. The collectors meet all of the requirements by the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) and are now eligible for grants. Enerconcept’s German partner, GoGaS Goch, which will sell the air collectors together with its energy-efficient solutions for heating and process heat, is delighted with the success of the combined systems. Solarthermalworld.org met François Brizard, Development Engineer at Enerconcept (left), and Heiko Schneider, Managing Director of GoGaS Goch, at the ISH fair in Frankfurt, Germany.
Photo: Stephanie Banse

Mexico: FAMERAC Lobbies for Stricter Solar Thermal System Standards

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 25, 2013

The election of the new Mexican government in December 2012 officially ended the strategic plan for solar thermal energy, Procalsol. The organisation of solar thermal manufacturers, FAMERAC, has been in talks with the Mexican National Commission for Energy Efficiency (CONUEE) and the new energy ministry to develop a strategy for a new Procalsol from 2013 to 2018. But Procalsol as a strategic framework is only one of three areas in which FAMERAC is lobbying for solar thermal at the moment, says Daniel García, the new President of FAMERAC and Sales Director of Mexican collector manufacturer Modulo Solar. The second area is standardisation and quality assurance of solar components and systems. The third concern of the association has been to improve the quality of solar installations.
Photo: Modulo Solar

“I appreciated the initiative of introducing a new standard”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 11, 2013

Elizabeth Duarte Pereira can look back at 40 years of solar thermal research in Brazil. Today, she is Professor at the UNA University Centre in Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais and is about to help set up a new test facility in Brazil - the third in her research career. During her stay in Berlin for the international SMEThermal conference, solarthermalworld.org sat down with Pereira to talk about quality issues, standards and Brazil’s solar-supported social housing programme.
Photo: Bärbel Epp

USA: SRCC Expands Solar Thermal Services

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 20, 2013

The US Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) is extending its list of services for the solar thermal sector. In a press release from 31 January 2013, the organisation announces the successful accreditation as a certification body by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Consequently, the SRCC is now able to award both OG-300 and Energy Star certificates. “We thought it was in our participants’ best interest to be able to get both OG-300 and Energy Star certifications from the same organisation and save time and money,” explains Eileen Prado, Executive Director at the SRCC. Because an Energy Star listing requires an SRCC OG-300 certificate, manufacturers had been forced to first get certified by the SRCC only to go through the certification process again at an another institute accredited through ISO17065 (formerly Guide 65) as an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognised certification body.

China: Compulsory Energy Efficiency Label

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 17, 2013

Solar water heaters produced after 1 September 2012 require the China Energy Label in one of three different classes: 1, 2 or 3. The aim of the label, which was initiated by the China National Institute of Standardisation, is to promote energy-efficient and high-performance appliances. The label was compulsory from the very first day on, although there has been a certain transition period for products in stock. It also applies to a number of other products and is a must-have for companies which want to receive funding from the newly launched national solar water heater subsidy programme (see the news piece from November 2012).

Germany: Fraunhofer ISE’s New Climate Test Stand

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 16, 2013

At the end of November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE started its new test stand for solar thermal collectors. Using this test stand, the scientists aim to simulate mechanical loads under extreme climatic conditions, e.g., wind or snow, and analyse their effects on the solar collectors. The test stand is part of the MechTest project, which has been running at the Fraunhofer ISE with support from the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) since 2010. The scientists hope that the project will be able to determine the mechanical stresses put on solar collectors and their mounting systems by wind and snow in order to develop quality assurance systems based on these results.
Photo: Stephanie Banse

Italy: Conference Highlights Installers’ Key Qualification Issues

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 15, 2012

Held in Rome in September 2012, the conference “Qualification and Certification of Skills for Those Working in the Energy Sector” was the ideal platform to outline and debate which qualifications and certifications are necessary for installers of small-scale renewable energy systems, including solar thermal. The Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, ENEA, had organised the conference because time is running out: the implementation date is the 31 December of this year. By this date, the Italian regions must have launched “a training programme for installers of renewable energy systems” in accordance with Italian law no. 28, which was approved on 3 March 2011. Some sector players, however, have their doubts about whether the regions will be ready by then.

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