Austria: Tisun Sees Rising Interest in Solar Thermal in Gulf Region

Austrian collector manufacturer Tisun is currently the supplier for three major projects in Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Its subsidiary, Tisun GCC with two Dubai stakeholders, have been the ones helping the company enter the Arab markets. Since 2010, Tisun has had a local subsidiary in Dubai, Tisun GCC. Tisun’s first reference project in the region was a 500 m² solar field built in 2012 for a food-processing factory and it has opened many doors since.
 
Austria-based collector manufacturer Tisun has observed an increasing interest in its products from Arab countries. “We have exported collectors to the region for about eight years. Recently, interest from public and private investors has been on the rise,” said Peter Hausberger, Sales Engineer at Tisun. Around 70 % of customers have shown interest in domestic water heating and around 30 % in commercial and industrial heat. Solar irradiation is between two and three times higher than in Europe, so the payback period for solar thermal plants is typically below five years – despite low fossil fuel costs. Small SWH plants tend to pay off somewhat faster than larger commercial ones, as they usually have to compete against electric water heaters. 
 
One current Tisun project is the planning and development of a solar thermal system for the new university campus near Kuwait City. Shipping began in 2016; the installation of the entire 1,173 m² of collector area is scheduled for 2017, and Tisun will supervise the installation. The plant will be installed on two different building roofs of the College of Science, as there are separate campuses for men and women. Total yield is estimated at 670 MWh per year (571 kWh/m²*year). The reason for the rather low number in a sunny place such as this one is the summer holiday, which means heat will not be used during the best time of the year. In addition to the delivery of 65,000 litres of hot water per day, the plant is to be utilised for educational and research purposes with the aim of advancing solar technology deployment in the region.
 
Another 1,040 pressurised SWH systems with a combined 7,800 m² will be installed on the roofs of individual homes on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. Tisun GCC will provide turnkey delivery to a not yet named property developer, so that solar energy can meet 90 % of the buildings’ hot water requirements. The 1,000+ installations will be equipped with electric backup heaters. As the Tisun collectors utilise natural convection to avoid glass fogging, the company has developed special filters to prevent sand from entering the ventilation system.
 
A third large solar thermal project is being set up in and was commissioned by Qatar’s capital Doha. More than 100 of the residential and commercial buildings in the new zone of Msheireb Downtown Doha will be equipped with Tisun solar water heaters. The housing area is expected to revive the inner city, decrease reliance on cars and be environmentally friendly. The more than 1,000 large collectors are delivered and installed during three stages. Tisun supplies both collectors and tanks and supports planning by offering simulations and technical optimisation, whereas its subsidiary supervises the project. The first stage concluded with the installation of a 64 m² solar plant. The second stage resulted in the delivery of 244 m² of large-scale collectors (6 to 13 m² each) and added components, such as four storage tanks with 4,000 litres each, mounting components, plate heat exchangers, anti-stagnation units (i.e., heat exchangers on the roof to deal with excess heat), expansion vessels and an interface for building management. The planning details for the third phase haven’t been worked out yet.
 
“Many of our customers had already specified the collector area and tank sizes they need during the tendering process. But we aim at assisting them as much as possible during planning and Tisun GCC usually supervises the installation process. Particularly in new markets, it is essential that every plant works as it should,” Hausberger said.
 
Websites of organisations mentioned in this article:
College of Science of the Sabah Al Salem University City: http://ssuc.ku.edu.kw/en/sabah-al-salem-university-city/main-campus.html...
 
This text was written by Eva Augsten, a German freelance journalist specialising in renewable energies.
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