Cautious Optimism in Germany

The German solar thermal industry rides roller coaster. After a 40 % decrease in 2007 and a 120 % increase in 2008, the outlook for this year still remains foggy. Can we again reach the 2008 market volume of 2.1 million m2? The sector says we can! This is one of the results of a survey among manufacturers, wholesalers and importers, conducted by the German magazine Solarthemen.

Tremendous Market Growth in Germany

The German solar thermal market more than doubled in 2008. According to the solar industry association BSW-Solar and the heating industry association BDH; 2.1 million m2 of new collector area (1.5 GWth) were installed on German roofs last year (940,000 m2 = 658 MWth in 2007). This proves to be a great success after the downswing in 2007, when the German solar thermal market experienced a 40 % decrease in collector area installations.

Solar cooling: a new Field for Simulations

Solar cooling is a promising new field of application for solar thermal technology. A new version of the simulation software Polysun will be published in April. It will not only be able to design solar thermal systems but also solar powered cooling plants that work with compression coolers or fan coils. A version that also contains a simulation model for absorption chillers is scheduled for the summer months. Polysun is offered in Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

South Africa: Rebates up to 30 %

90 % of South Africa’s electricity is generated by coal-fired power stations. The fourth quarter of 2007, however, started with massive power cuts as electricity supply fell behind demand. Eskom, the largest electricity supplier in Africa, the South African Government and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), began to implement alternative and renewable energy programmes a year later. Among these is a rebate programme for solar water heaters.

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