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Awareness Raising

Germany: Vaillant Establishes End-Customer Online Platform

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 15, 2016
VaillantGerman Vaillant has launched a project which has stirred controversy among installers: Online platform heizungonline.vaillant.de can be used by manufacturers to directly address those end customers who wish to shop online – and send them a “price indication” for a complete heating system. Recent discussions have revolved around the question of whether this is a help to installation companies or if it interferes with their entrepreneurial freedom. 
Picture: heizungonline.vaillant.de
 

Germany: Today’s System Suppliers Wary of Fixed-Price Marketing Campaigns

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 8, 2016
Sonnenkraft Advertising 2005 and 2015The German solar thermal market is still stuck in recession. Although incentives are higher than they have ever been, demand has not really picked up over the first five months of this year, according to the market statistics by the two associations BSW Solar and BDH. The total collector area sold until the end of May was again down by 5.3 % compared to the previous year, although vacuum tubes have been more strongly affected by the slump (-18 %) than flat plate collectors (-4 %). Installers are viewed as the bottleneck in the supply chain and an increasing number of solar thermal suppliers have run advert campaigns to try and reach end customers on their own. Solarthermalworld.org has already reported on the new end-customer sales strategies employed by Thermondo. This article describes how the campaigns of another German system supplier, Sonnenkraft, have changed over the years. The image depicts an advertisement for the campaign from 2005 (left) and one from 2015 (right).
Image: Sonnenkraft
 

IRENA Work Programme 2016-17: On the Lookout for SHC-related Actions and Deliverables

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 23, 2016
IRENA Member MapThe International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is a young, but globally operating intergovernmental organisation. The first general assembly was held only five years ago in April 2011, after a three-year preparation period. Since its founding, IRENA has welcomed 149 member states (see the map), and accession negotiations have been underway for another 27. Since 2014, the organisation has passed a biennial work programme, with the current one covering 2016-2017 (see the attached document). The projected budget for these two years is USD 89.5 million, split among six thematic areas and two administrative ones.
 

IEA SHC TASK 51: “Integrate Energy Perspectives into Spatial Planning of Urban Areas”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 2, 2016
Task 51 Ida BrogrenDuring COP21 in Paris last December, 1,000 mayors and local leaders pledged themselves to a 100 % renewable future of their municipalities by 2050. The final declaration from 4 December 2015 reads (see the attached document): “We support ambitious long-term climate goals such as a transition to 100 % renewable energy in our communities, or an 80 % greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2050.” This crucial political statement gives new impetus to the international research task Solar Energy in Urban Planning (Task 51), which is part of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. The main objective of the task headed by Maria Wall, Swedish professor at the Energy and Building Design department of Lund University, is to provide urban planners, authorities and architects with the means of designing urban areas that will enable the integration of active and passive solar energy solutions which can cover a large share of the energy demand. The researchers organised two workshops in Stockholm in March to discuss with representatives from public bodies how to deal with the challenges of interdisciplinary planning processes when trying to retain the aesthetic quality of buildings of cultural and historic significance.
Illustration: Ida Brogren, courtesy of Borås Municipality
 

Europe: Solar Thermal Is Best-Known Renewable Heating Technology

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 1, 2016
FROnT Project 2As part of EU project Fair RHC Options and Trade (FROnT), customers from the residential, non-residential and industrial sector were asked about the key points factoring into their decision on a heating or cooling system. In all sectors, solar thermal was the most widely known renewable heat technology. Among the around two-thirds of the interview partners who knew about renewable heating and cooling technologies, 96 % of the residential, 89% of non-residential and 79 % of industrial customers were aware of the opportunities of solar thermal energy. “That was a confirming result for us,” Stefano Lambertucci, Policy Officer at the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), said. Awareness of solar cooling was significantly lower, especially in the industrial sector, where biomass and geothermal heat pumps received high scores.
Figure: FROnT
 

#SolarThermal: Increasing Visibility through Harmonised Hashtags

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 14, 2016
HashtagsThe solar heating and cooling (SHC) sector needs to increase visibility on social media channels. This was the shared belief of the three major SHC institutions – the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) and solarthermalworld.org – which met at the beginning of 2016 to discuss relevant strategies. The group saw Twitter as an important communication channel among policy makers, lobbyists and industry associations – a tool which is also used by a growing number of journalists worldwide for their research. The institutions decided to campaign for harmonised hashtags regarding content related to solar heating and cooling on Twitter, in order to increase visibility and improve the search functionality. 

USA: SHC Alliance Board to Represent all Technologies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 11, 2016
Ed MurrayThe Solar Heating and Cooling Alliance within the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has had an extended board since February 2016. Five industry representatives declared their candidacy and were subsequently elected: Bill Guiney from Artic Solar, Bob Leckinger from FAFCO, Les Nelson from IAPMO and Victoria Hollick from Conserval will join Mick Humphreys from Apricus until the end of this year. “We need to have representatives across all technologies of SHC,” Ed Murray explains the decision to extend the board (see photo on the left). Murray has been chair of the SHC Alliance since November 2015 as well as CEO and President of California-based system supplier Aztec Solar. His vice chair is Adam Chrisman, Vice President of Manufacturing & Engineering at SunEarth. The outreach officer/treasurer is Eileen Prado, Executive Director of the Solar Rating & Certification Corporation.

Assessment on the Commercial Viability of Solar Cooling Technologies and Applications in the Arab Region

Submitted by Amr Hai on December 29, 2015

The scope of this assessment is to create a logical pathway to identify the most efficient, reliable and cost competitive solar cooling technology for the Arab region. The assessment investigates the commercial viability of solar cooling technologies in 22 Arab countries to assist a strong and sustainable market development.

Solar Cooling: Results Diagram Directs Stakeholders to Content of Interest

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 29, 2015
Task 48The best solar research results are of little use if they are not distributed and known to stakeholders from the industry, planning departments or public authorities involved in the related field work. This becomes an even more important point if the aim of the research is to “assist with the developing of a strong and sustainable market”. One example: Task 48 (Quality Assurance & Support Measures for Solar Cooling Systems) under the auspices of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling programme. Between October 2011 and March 2015, a very dynamic group of 30 solar cooling experts teamed up to work on a wide range of topics. As many as 180 person months of research were at the disposal of the programme’s coordinators, which created a lot of interesting output. The cooling specialists accepted and met the challenge by presenting results in a clear structure on the above-shown diagram. The so-called Task 48 Results Diagram could serve as a best-practice model for other international research projects.
Source: task48.iea-shc.org/
 

Europe: Strategy on Heating and Cooling Launches in February 2016

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 21, 2015
Maroš Šefčovič (left) and Miguel Arias CañeteThe publication of the EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling (Heat Strategy) is now scheduled for February 2016, when it will be published as part of the winter (legislative) package comprising a revised Security of Gas Supply Regulation and an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas. The Heat Strategy was supposed to be already out on 18 November 2015. The consultation process is now over and the ENER C3 unit of the Directorate General (DG) of Energy is drafting the final version. The photos show the two most important heads of European energy strategies, both with a five-year term up to 2019: Maroš Šefčovič from Slovakia, Vice-President of the European Commission and in charge of the Energy Union (left), and Miguel Arias Cañete from Spain, the commissioner for Energy and Climate Action. 
Photos: EU Commission
 

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