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Finance and Incentives, News

First heliostat field made in Brazil

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 19, 2018
Photo: USPThe University of São Paulo in Pirassununga (see photo) is about to get its own field of heliostats on campus. Once completed, the sea of mirrors will focus sunlight onto a receiver connected to an Organic Rankine Cycle system. The heat transfer fluid will be ambient air. The ORC turbine ‘waste’, hot water at 90 °C, will be directed to a nearby abattoir. The demonstration plant is part of SMILE, which is short for Solar-Hybrid Microturbine Systems for Cogeneration in Agro-Industrial Electricity and Heat Production.
Photo: USP

First cooling installation on Indian government building

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 10, 2018
Photo: VSM SolarGujarat State Electricity Corporation set up a solar thermal air conditioning system as part of its clean energy initiative last August. The installation offers a capacity of 150 tons of refrigeration (528 kW) to cool the Gandhinagar Thermal Power Station’s office building in Gujarat state in western India. The total investment, including the collector field, mounting equipment, chiller and hot water storage tanks, amounted to Indian Rupee (INR) 52 million, or around EUR 0.7 million, which corresponds to specific costs of 1,327 EUR/kW. 
Photo: VSM Solar

IEA SHC Webinar: Cost reduction potential above 30 %

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 5, 2018
Chart: AventaThe key takeaway from an IEA SHC Solar Academy webinar held on 14 March 2018: There is still much room for cost cuts along the entire solar thermal value chain. The webinar was organised jointly by the IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme’s Task 54 and the International Solar Energy Society.
Chart: Aventa

Big Solar Germany: Utility-scale solar heat at record-low 36 EUR/MWh

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 3, 2018
Christian HolterOperators of several gas-driven combined cycle power plants, or CCPPs, have notified the German Federal Network Agency of their systems’ final shutdown. These plants are no longer economically viable, as they have been running ever fewer hours because of a high proportion of cost-effective renewable grid electricity. Their shutdown will create a shortage of supply in district heating networks providing thermal energy to German municipalities. Utility-scale solar thermal plants equipped with seasonal storage could help close the gap at heat prices of around 36 EUR/MWh, Christian Holter said. Holter is the Managing Director of Austrian turnkey system supplier S.O.L.I.D., which has carried out feasibility studies on behalf of several European cities.

NPV, IRR and DDP: The language of bankers and investors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 27, 2018
Chart: Patrick ReiterIndustry professionals often do not use the same language as bankers and investors when they present solar thermal projects. We have asked Patrick Reiter, who has just finished his master’s thesis, titled Solar District Heating – Economic feasibility of large-scale solar thermal systems in municipal district heating networks – a case from Austria, to explain the most important words and key performance indicators, or KPIs, for the financial feasibility assessment of large-scale solar thermal plants. He studied for his master’s degree at the University of Graz’s Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research. 
Chart: Patrick Reiter

Solar thermal and biomass – a winning solution for district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 18, 2018
Photo: Riccardo BattistiBiomass may be cheap and carbon-neutral, but a solar upgrade of biomass-fired district heating could further improve efficiency and reduce local emissions. For example, solar heat helps avoid having to start up and shut down wood-chip boilers or operate them at partial load. It can even replace backup fossil fuel systems, which provide district heating networks with energy in summer. During a December 2017 webinar, held as part of the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…From Policy to Market, experts from Sweden and Austria showed promising case studies for a clever combination of biomass and solar thermal in district heating.
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

Financial support for concentrating solar systems extended until 2020

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 14, 2018
Photo: HoneywellThe “order” published by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy on 26 February 2018 put an end to the uncertainty which had pervaded the industry. In the 2-page document, the ministry pledged to continue its investment subsidy programme for concentrating solar thermal systems. The target until March 2020 is 90,000 m² of collector area. The financial year 2017 to 2018, during which 20,000 m² were planned to be subsidised, is almost over.
Photo: Honeywell
 

India: Flat plates up, concentrating technologies down

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 1, 2018
Source: Jaideep MalaviyaIn 2017, India’s solar thermal market shifted heavily in favour of flat plate collectors, with systems based on concentrating technologies losing ground. The chart shows the annually installed flat plate collector area to have more than doubled last year compared to 2016. It went from 150,476 m² (105 MWth) to 397,286 m² (278 MWth) an increase by 164 %. Installation figures for solar water heaters based on imported vacuum tubes rose by 7 % to 1,120,963 m² (785 MWth). Concentrating collector sales, on the other hand, only added 5,450 m² to the total, a much lower value than the 26,040 m² in 2016. The reference period for the annual statistics was changed in 2016. It is now the calendar year, whereas it used to be the Indian financial year, which runs from 1 April to 31 March the following year.
Source: Jaideep Malaviya
 

Solar district heating on the Roof of the World

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 27, 2018
Photo: Task 55A contract to set up a solar district heating network in Langkazi county in Tibet has been awarded to Arcon-Sunmark Large-Scale Solar Systems. The Chinese-Danish joint venture signed an agreement with the local government of the autonomous region of Tibet. The system should provide solar district heating for 82,600 m² of floor area and meet 90 % of the yearly space heating demand in Langkazi, the town sharing its name with the county. The system, planned to be set up by November, will consist of a 22,000 m² collector field, 15,000 m³ of pit storage and a 3-MW electric boiler. The sponsor of the pilot project is China’s central government.
Photo: Task 55

Germany: Solar thermal loses out to other renewables

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 20, 2018
Wagner & Co2017 was the weakest year for solar thermal collector sales in more than a decade, according to the combined statistics by associations BDH and BSW-Solar. Their data reveals that only 78,000 systems were sold last year. The newly installed collector area added up to 625,000 m², down 16 % from 2016 and as much as 72 % from the boom year of 2008. It was an astonishingly poor showing, considering the strong growth in the construction industry and the high incentive amounts available in Germany.
Photo: BSW Solar / Wagner & Co
 

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