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Awareness Raising

Austria: Professor Faninger Receives Decoration for his 30 Years of Solar Research

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 17, 2008

Professor Faninger Austria Pioneer of renewable energies in Austria: Professor Gerhard Faninger from the University of Klagenfurt received the Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria.
Photo: Bärbel Epp

Neuma Solar: 30 % More Absorber Surface within a Collector

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 14, 2008

Neuma solar collector Super solid: The Austrian manufacturer Neuma Solar presented the new collector Goliath Deluxe which can stand heavy snow loads.
Photo: Neuma Solar

Poland: Downwind for the Solar Thermal Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 14, 2008

watt poland commercial installationCommercial applications are on the rise in Poland: “Big building societies, hotels and hospitals are investing in solar thermal systems,” confirms export manager Jacek Paluch of the collector manufacturer Watt.
Photo: Watt

Tunisian Market Growing Rapidly

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 20, 2008

The Tunisian solar thermal market has increased tenfold in only the last four years. Before starting the grant programme Prosol II in 2005, only 7,000 m2 had been installed in Tunisia (4.9 MWth). Last year already showed installations of 60,000 m2 (42 MWth), 74 % more than in the previous year. For 2008, the official target is 80,000 m2 (56 MWth) of newly installed collector area.

IEA Study "Solar Heat Worldwide": Global Market Growth of 22 % in 2006

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 18, 2008

2006 was an extremely satisfying year for the global solar thermal industry. According to the new study “Solar Heat Worldwide. Markets and contribution to the Energy Supply 2006” on behalf of IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme the new installations grew 22 % in 2006. The authors from the Austrian research institute AEE Intec surveyed 48 countries and added up the newly installed collector area to 18.3 GWth (26.1 million m2).

Tender in Pacific region: Delivery of 150 to 300 Solar Water Heaters

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 28, 2008

Country:                 Island Niue

City/Locality:           Alofi / five islands in the pacific

Activity:                   Delivery of 150 to 300 solar water heaters

Buyer:                     Government of Niue www.gov.nu

Financing:                European Development Fund (EDF)

Publication date:     28 August 2007

Deadline:                 16 August 2008

Process Heat: the Solar Thermal Challenge of the Future

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 15, 2008

So far solar thermal technology is mostly used for domestic hot water, pool heating and room heating. It´s often forgotten that there is a huge demand for heat below 250 °C in industry, which can easily be reached with solar thermal collectors.

An international team of researchers working on behalf of the International Energy Agency estimated the realisable potential of solar process heat in the European Union at 100 GWth, which corresponds to 140 million m2 of collector area. T

Today, however, a solar thermal capacity of only 13.5 GWth is in operation across Europe. Task 33 of the International Energy Agency reported 85 solar process heat plants worldwide with a capacity of 27 MWth. However, this market segment seems to be waking up. Just recently, news about huge solar process heat installations did the rounds. There is the 13,000 m2 plant in Hangzhou, China, on the roof of the textile dyeing factory Daly Ltd., which is most probably the biggest installation for solar process heat in the world. The total investment adds up to RMB 12 million (€ 1.11 million) including the tanks and mounting system. According to the project developer, the Chinese company Shenzhen Quir Solar Technology Co., Ltd, the solar collectors will save RMB 3.38 million (€ 0.31 million) per year, so that the investment will pay off within 3 years. The hot water is provided at a low temperature of 55 °C. Secondly, this summer the German brewery Hofmühl GmbH in Eichstätt will start operating a pilot plant with 1,389 m2 of vacuum tube collectors, which will supply process heat between 90 and 140 °C to the brewing and cleaning processes. The owner of the system estimates a reduction of 20 % in the annual energy demand of the factory. The company is convinced that the investment will pay off and has plans for subsequent upsizing to 3,000 m2. The project is being subsidised by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

What are the main topics for the future to open this new market sector?

What are solar thermal systems made of?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

Flat plat collectors are made of metal, glass, insulating and joining materials. Typically copper, steel or aluminium is used for the absorber configuration. The sides and bottom of the collector are usually metal and insulated with mineral wool to minimize heat loss. The glass top is made of special glass to resist facture and maximise transmission of energy. In the future, a variety of materials and combinations of materials including plastics may be used to improve cost benefits ratios, higher temperature ranges and systems performance.

What can solar thermal technology be used for?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

There is a wide variety of applications for solar thermal technology. The most common application is the heating of pool water, the heating of domestic hot water and space heating. Not very wide spread yet are solar cooling systems, because of the complexity of the technology and the high initial investment costs.

Are there any disadvantages to using solar energy?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

Solar thermal systems most probably have higher "first costs" than other kinds of heating systems. Also, the energy is not available 24 hours a day and not sufficiently during all seasons of the year. That means that storage systems like water tanks and backup systems are a must in all solar thermal installations.

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