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Finance and Incentives, Solar Cooling

Slovenia: On the Path to Renewable District Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 2, 2017
Rok SunkoDistrict heating networks supplied by renewable energy sources (RES) are widely recognised today as one of the most effective ways to decarbonise the heating sector. The EU’s CoolHeating project has been supporting the implementation of small, modular renewable heating and cooling grids for towns in southeastern Europe by transferring knowledge from leading countries such as Austria, Denmark and Germany to newcomers, for example, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. It has also led to the publication of a handbook – Small modular renewable heating and cooling grids – available in seven languages (see the attached PDFs). Solarthermalworld.org talked to Rok Sunko (see photo) from one of the project partners, Skupina Fabrika about current developments and the outlook of RES district heating in Slovenia. The company is a Slovenian-based R&D business focusing on renewables, IT solutions and branding.
Photo: Skupina Fabrika
 

Italy: New Solar Cooling Systems and Opportunities

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 7, 2017
MayaGovernment incentives have been pushing solar cooling forwards in Italy. The large budget available for national incentive scheme Conto Termico 2.0 has made several service providers optimistic about the future of the Italian market. For example, Mario Colaiemma from Maya, the European distributor of Japanese Yazaki chillers, said that “Italy was the key market for our solar thermal-driven chillers in 2016.” The photo shows a typical solar cooling system based on slightly below 50 m² of vacuum tube collectors connected to a 17.6 kW chiller. It was installed in Sicily, also home to two solar cooling plants by German chiller manufacturer Fahrenheit (formerly Sortech). Gregor Feig, Head of Sales at Fahrenheit, said in March 2017 that “two sorption cooling systems were put into operation in data centres in Enna and Caltanissetta, in the very sunny region of Sicily. Two more systems have been delivered, but haven’t gone online yet.”
Photo: Maya 
 

IEA SHC: Industry Workshop in Spain Shows Solar Cooling’s Global Opportunities

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 30, 2016
Task 43 WorkshopThe latest R&D developments in solar cooling presented during a workshop in Madrid, Spain, on 11 April sparked great interest among the attendees from the international air conditioning industry. Held at the headquarters of the Spanish Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving, IDEA, the event brought together representatives from companies, such as Baxi Roca, Carrier, Fujitsu, Kaysun and Panasonic, as well as researchers from Task 53, New Generation Solar Cooling and Heating Systems, of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. The presentations showcased innovative solutions driven by solar heat or solar power. The experts agreed that solar cooling will be a market for both solar thermal and solar PV solutions over the coming years and will capture new territory outside Europe, such as in the Middle East or China. A current study on the Arab region concluded: PV cooling technologies are more economical than grid-driven electric chillers at cooling loads of 100 kWc, whereas solar thermal cooling should be used for 1 MWc cooling.
Photo: IDEA
 

Saudi Arabia: “Cheap might still be too expensive”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 19, 2016
Saudi Arabia Solar Cooling AramcoWith a solar radiation of up to 2,550 kWh/m², Saudi Arabia seems destined to be a frequent user of solar thermal energy. Solar heating and cooling, however, are not very common in the Kingdom. A new housing programme launched by the government is now adding solar water heating to the list of eligible technologies, albeit companies selling to Saudi Arabia have so far only reported a small number of prestigious projects. The photo shows a solar cooling demonstration plant at the headquarters of the kingdom’s oil company, Aramco, in Dhahran. The system, which came into operation in November 2014, offers high-vacuum flat MT-Power panels by Swiss manufacturer TVP Solar and runs a double-effect absorption chiller with 180 °C to produce cold air for Saudi Aramco's Al-Munirah Community Library. Still, solar thermal energy seems to remain a niche market in the eyes of the government, which has just published a new energy strategy for the coming years – the policy document primarily mentions PV, CSP and nuclear energy to offset the rising domestic consumption of the nation’s main export commodity: oil. 
Photo: TVP Solar
 

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
 

France Increases Public Support for Solar Thermal

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 11, 2015

The French energy agency Ademe has been supporting renewable heat production in the industry, the district heating sector and at multi-family buildings since 2009. The budget of the national subsidy scheme, Fonds Chaleur (Heat Fund), will double in amount from around EUR 240 million per year to EUR 420 million in 2017. During 2009 to 2014, solar installations accounted for as little as 6 % of Fonds Chaleur's EUR 1.2 billion (see the attached report). Despite the high subsidy amount, the number of solar thermal applications is declining, as is the French solar market in general. Ademe is trying to counter the negative trend by offering new incentive schemes to address the large solar systems segments.
Source: Ademe

IEA SHC: 20 Country Profile Analyse Market and Industry Development

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 3, 2015
SHC country members“The Renewable Heat Incentive in the United Kingdom has failed to stimulate the market for solar thermal, which continues to contract. There are technical issues in the regulations preventing the use of solar thermal with other renewable heating systems, such as biomass and heat pumps, and the subsidy rate is relatively low compared to the feed-in tariff for solar photovoltaics.” This clear statement was made by Dr Robert Edwards, Director in the Science and Innovation Group at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). He represents the country in the Executive Committee of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) research programme and delivered an updated country profile of the British solar thermal market in June 2015. As part of its services, the IEA SHC programme publishes updated market profiles of all 20 member countries each year. You will find the list of member countries online and the link to the country profile at the bottom of each country page. The statement by Edwards is part of the latest UK country profile.
 

Germany: Label for Existing Heating Boilers to Increase Retrofit Share

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 31, 2015
MAP StatisticsFinally some good news from Germany, the largest market in Europe, which declined for four years in a row between 2011 and 2014. After a very sluggish first quarter in 2015, demand for solar thermal systems was increasing over the summer months because of the increased subsidy levels of the German Market Rebate Programme for Renewable Energies since April 2015. The number of applications for solar thermal systems in June and July was 31 % higher than in the previous year. The chart shows the applications submitted per month, with the green columns depicting 2014 and the orange columns representing 2015. And there is more good news for the sector: the announced energy label for existing heating boilers. 
Source: Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control, BAFA
 

USA: Ups and Downs of Californian Incentive Levels and Application Numbers

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 25, 2015
USA California StatisticsIf there were an award for the most transparent support programme in the field of solar heating and cooling, then the California Solar Initiative (CSI) – Thermal Program would get the prize. The CSI-T programme offers a regularly updated and publicly available Excel file of all submitted, approved and paid applications, and this file also includes an amazing amount of additional information, such as collector size, system supplier, contractor for the installation, total project costs or the application itself. The chart above, provided by Lewis Bichkoff, Lead Analyst of the CSI Thermal Program at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), shows the subsidised and installed collector area per year. The annual volume shows significant growth from 953 m² (10,247 ft²) installed and granted during the first year to 36,641 m² (394,401 ft²) in 2014. In 2014, there was a noticeable dominance of pool heating systems, which made up 71 % of the total subsidised collector area.
Chart: CPUC
 

Austria: Results of 40 Monitored, Non-Residential Projects

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 29, 2015

The sixth invitation to tender for large-scale solar thermal systems in Austria is still accepting applications until 24 September. The Austrian Climate and Energy Fund has again allocated a budget of EUR 5.9 million for installing collector fields of between 100 and 2,000 m2 for process heat, district heating, solar cooling, systems with high solar coverage above 20 % in trade and business and innovative technologies. The subsidy covers 40 % of the additional, environmentally relevant costs of the installation and grants a 5 % bonus for small and medium enterprises. As in the past, applicants must consult with experts from one of the three selected Austrian research institutes before submitting their proposal. Over the first five years, the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund spent EUR 17,258,324 on 163 projects. The pie chart shows the distribution of the 163 approved projects broken down by application.
Figure: Austrian Climate and Energy Fund

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