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Finance and Incentives

Australia: Good Funding for Solar Process Heat, but Little Trust by Industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 22, 2016
IRR rates for solar thermal in AustraliaAustralia’s energy policy has been in the international press mostly for its shift back toward coal under the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. However, Jeremy Osborne, Director of Energy Analysis & Engineering, said in an interview with solarthermalworld.org that Australia did have a “supportive government despite all the news”.  Since July 2015, renewables for industrial processes has been one of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) investment priorities, which includes solar process heat. ARENA also published the report Renewable Energy Options for Australian Industrial Gas Users in September 2015, emphasising that lower-temperature process heat systems at around 100 °C are most “prospective at present” (see the attached document). Positive Internal Rates of Return (IRR) are achieved with gas prices above Australian Dollar (AUD) 5 per gigajoules (GJ). According to the report, the wholesale price for gas was between 6 and 8 AUD/GJ in 2014 and is expected to rise to between 9 and 12 AUD/GJ before the end of the decade. 
Chart: ARENA
 

Denmark: Solar Concentrating Systems to Offer Wide Array of Uses

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 20, 2016
Aalborg Tars InaugurationAt present, the Danish turnkey supplier of concentrating solar systems, Aalborg CSP, has two more large projects under construction. Both installations – one for Danish district heating company Brønderslev Forsyning and one for Australian vegetables producer Sundrop Farms – cover electricity and heat demand at their sites. Yet another first-of-its-kind project was inaugurated in August 2015 in the Danish village of Tårs (see photo), 30 km north of Aalborg. It entailed 4,039 m² of parabolic trough collectors and a preheating flat plate collector field of 5,972 m². Simulations have pointed to a 31 % coverage of annual heat demand even without seasonal storage, since overheating in summer can be avoided by moving the parabolic trough collectors out of focus. Aalborg CSP is an experienced planner of steam and boiler systems and has been offering concentrating solar solutions since 2007. 
Photo: Tårs
 

Austria: Decision on Operating Company for Big Solar Graz Expected Soon

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 17, 2016
Gleisdorf Solar 2016“Large-scale solar thermal systems in the GW range – an insignificant niche market or the future for solar thermal?” was the official title of a panel discussion at the Gleisdorf Solar conference in Austria in early May. The most important question was: What will be next for the planned 350 MWth solar district heating system called Big Solar in the Austrian city of Graz? “The challenge was to adapt the Danish district heating solutions to Austrian conditions,” emphasised the project’s initiator, Christian Holter (right), Managing Director of S.O.L.I.D. Meanwhile, Christian Stadler (left), Managing Director of one of Arcon-Sunmark’s subsidiaries, Arcon-Sunmark Germany & Austria, represented the company that has stated his own interest in realising Big Solar.
Photo: AEE INTEC
 

Tunisia: Good Hotel and Hospital Investment Opportunities

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 8, 2016
Tunisia StudyA great deal of sunlight, large investment grants and subsidised energy prices: These are the factors determining the profitability of big solar thermal systems in Tunisia, according to the authors of the study Opportunities for solar thermal systems in the tertiary and industrial sectors in Tunisia, a publication by the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, (see attached document in English, the French version is under consultation). Under certain circumstances, a solar thermal system can achieve a double-digit Internal Rate of Return (IRR), for example, if it is installed at LPG-dependent hotels or hospitals on the Tunisian island of Djerba. When solar replaces natural gas in commercial buildings in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, the IRR is still significantly higher than the estimated 4.3 % inflation per year. However, there are difficulties with the economic feasibility of solar process heat applications because not even top reference cases have fulfilled investor expectations. The authors emphasise that the importance Tunisian businesses currently place on payback periods for investing may lead them to overlook valuable projects.
Figure: GIZ study
 

IEA SHC: Levelised Cost of Heat and the Calculations behind It

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 28, 2016
The main objective of IEA SHC Task 52, Solar Thermal in Energy Supply Systems in Urban Environments, is to call attention to both the technical and economic aspects of solar heating and cooling usage in densely populated urban areas. Urban planners and commercial clients want to know the costs compared to the energy output generated by various solar heating technologies. A method to benchmark different solar heat production systems is Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE). This method is described by the IEA as the “average price that would have to be paid by consumers to repay exactly the investor/operator for the capital, operation and maintenance and fuel expenses, with a rate of return equal to the discount rate”. The chart shows the LCOE for different applications and system sizes in northern / central European climates, taken from the most current Task 52 study Technology and Demonstrators (for further details see table below). The author of the study, Franz Mauthner from Austrian research institute AEE INTEC, contributed to this article, which elaborates on the method and the calculations behind it. 
Chart: Task 52 / Technology and Demonstrators study
 

Italy: First-Year District Heating Yield Better than Expected

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 20, 2016
Output VareseThe first and so far unique solar district heating plant in Italy completed its first year in operation in mid-May this year. According to metering by the operator of the 990 m² collector field, utility Varese Risorse, output was significantly higher than expected. The chart shows the total output measured over almost 12 months: It was 13 % higher than the target figure. The solar district heating plant was developed and installed by a newly founded Italian company, SDH Energy, which also guaranteed the solar yield (red line).
Chart: Varese Risorse/SDH Energy
 

Armenia: Green Leasing Programme to Fund Solar Water Heaters at Hotels

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 16, 2016
Tufenkian Hotel 1Armenia, a small country in South Caucasus, is home to an innovative financing scheme for solar thermal systems and other energy efficiency measures. In 2014, Armenian ACBA Leasing launched the Green Leasing programme for small and medium enterprises from any industry. According to an article published on 24 March 2016 on Armenian news website news.am, Green Leasing had already helped fund several solar thermal systems for different customers, such as seven hotels, four catering businesses and more than 20 service companies. One of the most well-known customers was the Tufenkian Hotel in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital: The roof installation of 1,140 vacuum tubes was done in December last year (see photo). 
Photo: Shtigen
 

India: Government Presents 102 Awards for Solar Process Heat and Solar Cooking

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 11, 2016
India Award 2016(1)Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, awarded prizes to 102 institutions, companies and agencies for their achievements in high-temperature solar process heat and cooking. The photo shows the minister calling on the manufacturers to share their innovative ideas and make India a unique place for the demonstration of solar process heating technologies. The Concentrated Solar Technology Excellence Awards 2016 ceremony was organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in cooperation with the GEF-UNDP programme for concentrating solar thermal and took place in New Delhi on 29 April 2016. This was the first time in the history of India’s solar thermal industry that so many awards were presented at only one event. Additionally, 37 projects from all over the country received sanction letters for the MNRE capital subsidy and GEF-UNDP support scheme.
Photos: MNRE
 

Germany: Symposium Debates Renewable Heating Market Ups and Downs

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 4, 2016
Otti SymposiumDuring the first quarter of 2016, solar thermal suppliers in Germany sold around 3 % more systems than they did over the same period last year. This is indeed good news after 2015 turned out to be another disappointing year with a 10 % drop in sales, adding only 805,000 m² (563 MWth) of newly installed collector area. The other good news is that subsidies in Germany have never been as attractive as they are now. It is the reason why the two German solar and heating associations, BSW Solar and BDH, launched the Solar Heating – it always pays off (Sonnige Heizung - immer im Plus) campaign, as announced in a press release in the middle of April – at the same time that the Solar Thermal Energy Symposium took place in Bad Staffelstein. The symposium is Germany’s major annual industry conference on the topic and is organised by the East-Bavarian Institute for Technology Transfer, OTTI. This year, the three-day conference was attended by around 250 solar thermal experts from research and industry.
Photo: OTTI / Dr Thomas Vorderwülbecke
 

Lebanon: Stable Market Gains New Momentum

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 3, 2016
Lebanon Market StatisticsThe Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) has just finished a market survey on the newly installed collector area per collector type over recent years. The newly added area in 2015 was 53,976 m² with a slightly higher share of vacuum tubes, which went up from 54 % in 2012 to 60 % last year (see chart on the left). After two years of decline, market volume again increased in 2015 by 2.4 %. “The study considered all delayed applications as well as market projections based on data received from banks and suppliers,” Rani Al Achkar, Senior Programmes Engineer at the LCEC, said. 
Source: LCEC 
 

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