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Finance and Incentives

SHC2015: The Challenge of Smart Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 22, 2016
After several quickly receding waves of smart home hypes, the current trend to link devices in residential homes seems comparably stable. Drivers of the development are energy, security and comfort. Although new products and services for smart homes focus on electricity usage, Uwe Trenkner is convinced that modern communication technologies are another important factor for solar heating. The consultant from Brussels, Belgium, was co-author of the Technical Study Report on Measuring, Remote Monitoring and Remote Controlling for Solar Thermal Systems, which was published at the end of last year (see the attached document). Solarthermalworld.org interviewed the expert during the Solar Heating and Cooling Conference (SHC2015) in Istanbul, Turkey, in December 2015.
 

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
 

Slovakia: Solar Collectors Second Most Favourite Choice for Green Homes

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 15, 2016
Green HomesThe long-awaited support scheme for the utilisation of renewable energy sources in residential buildings, Green Homes, was launched on 1 December 2015 – finally, one might say, as its start had already been planned for August 2015. With the EU-funded programme, the Slovak government intends to get homeowners to transform their energy supply ecologically. Any kind of small-scale renewable technology is eligible for the programme. Not only residential homeowners will get back up to 50% of their project costs, but also associations of flat owners are eligible for financial support, whereas companies are not entitled to any incentive (see further information in the database of incentive programmes). The chart from the programme´s website shows the three most favourite technologies during the first allocation period: photovoltaics, solar thermal and heat pumps.
 

Slovakian incentive programme Green Homes

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 11, 2016
Since December 2015 Slovaks can obtain incentives for the installation of renewable energies systems including solar thermal energy from the EU funded programme Green Homes operated by the state Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA) and implemented in various allocation rounds. Only Solar Keymark certified solar collectors are eligible and installers have to be registered at SIEA.
Effective Date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Greece: Tax Incentives Benefit National Economy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 5, 2016
Panayis Konstantinidis (left) with Kostis HatzidakisGreece’s solar water heater manufacturers have proved to be highly resilient at a time when the country is in economic crisis. The collector manufacturers were able to increase both domestic (+19 %) and export (+16 %) sales in 2014, according to the Greek Solar Industry Association, EBHE. The industry provides a high level of vertical integration and exports 50 % of its annual production volume. EBHE promotes a number of measures to keep business growing for its members. At the beginning of the year, the association and industry sponsors commissioned the Greek Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research, IOBE, to carry out a survey on the economic impact of a domestic tax reduction scheme. The survey results are now available and EBHE’s President, Panayis Konstantinidis, has already been in several meetings with ministry officials and members of parliament. The photo shows Konstantinidis (left) with Kostis Hatzidakis, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Development, during a discussion in September 2015. 
Photo: EBHE
 

South Africa: Invitation to Tender Comes Several Months Later than Expected

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 4, 2016
South AfricaSouth Africa is back to the tender season. At the beginning of December, the Department of Energy (DoE) published its Invitation of Bids for the Manufacturing and Supply, Delivery and Warehousing of Solar Water Heater Systems for financial years 2015/2016, 2016/2017 as well as 2017/2018. It will end on 15 January 2016. The current tender was announced and expected since spring 2015. In her budget speech on 19 May 2015, the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, promised an improved solar water heater programme operated by the DoE already within the 2015 budget. But nothing happened until the beginning of December. The industry was not at all amused about the delay, as several publications of the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA) show.
 

France: Monitoring Innovations – Rebuilding Investor Confidence

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 22, 2015
 Tecsol Monitoring Device“The French market has been suffering from inadequately performing solar thermal installations made in the boom years of 2009 to 2011 because of untrained installers,” said Edwige Gautier, Project Coordinator at Enerplan, the Union of Professionals in Solar Energy, during her speech at SHC2015 in Istanbul at the beginning of December. “We need to rebuild investor confidence in solar thermal.” Training and installation manuals are one way to achieve this aim, monitoring systems would be another. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that two solar thermal innovations were conceived in France this year: Tecsol’s One Thermique and the storage tank touchscreens by Viessmann with its storage tank and collector factory in Faulquemont, France. 
 

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

Armenia: Solar Heat as ACBA-Credit Agricole’s Corporate Social Responsibility

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 9, 2015
ArmeniaACBA-Credit Agricole, the Armenian branch of French banking group Credit Agricole, has announced the installation of several solar collector systems in Armenia’s third-largest city Vanadzor. The solar thermal systems were installed on the premises of Orran, the local charity organisation for families in need, and regular maintenance will be carried out by a Shtigen, a local business and one of Armenia’s biggest developers in the field of solar thermal and solar electricity systems. The photo shows a non-pressurised solar thermal system consisting of 240 vacuum tubes. It was installed on the roof of a swimming pool and provides the heat for the building.
Photo: Shtigen
 

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