Policy

  • Solar Heat – a Winner Technology for Austria

    Solar Heat – a Winner Technology for Austria

    “The four years of climate protection programme “klima:aktiv” in Austria was the most successful programme ever”, Robert Kanduth, the chairman of Austrian Solar Thermal Association, Austria Solar, and CEO of Greenonetec, the biggest flat-plate collector manufacturer worldwide. Kanduth was...

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  • Still Uncertainty about U.S. Federal Tax Credits

    Still Uncertainty about U.S. Federal Tax Credits

    “Sunny Day For Solar” titled the U.S. American Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on the 24th of September. A day beforehand, the Senate had approved its version of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 which would extend the 30 % tax credits for solar thermal...

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  • Solar Thermal Power Now 2005

    Solar Thermal Power Now: This report discusses how solar thermal power could meet 5% of the world's electricity needs by 2040. It presents a scenario and policy recommendations prepared by the European Solar Thermal Industry Association, IEA SolarPACES and Greenpeace International. Visit...
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  • Poland: Downwind for the Solar Thermal Market

    Poland: Downwind for the Solar Thermal Market

    Commercial applications are on the rise in Poland: “Big building societies, hotels and hospitals are investing in solar thermal systems,” confirms export manager Jacek Paluch of the collector manufacturer Watt. Photo: Watt

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  • Renewable heating law in Germany: solar - an option among others

    With the Renewable Heating Law (EEWärmeG) the German government aims at increasing the share of renewable energy in the heating demand from 6 to 14 % until 2020. From 1 January, 2009 on owners and operators of private, commercial and public buildings will have to provide a minimum share of their...

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  • Solar Obligation in Barcelona: Pioneers in Europe

    The Barcelona Solar Thermal Obligation was the first of its kind adopted in a large European city. The first version entered into effect in August 2000. The revised version was approved in February 2006. Main changes are that the regulations now apply to more buildings and that the solar...

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  • Spain: Solar Obligation since 2006

    In March 2006 the Spanish Government passed the new Technical Buildings Code (CTE). It has been the most significant reform of the country’s building sector in decades. The law covers safety, health and noise protection issues in buildings, and it deals with sustainability and energy...

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  • Is there enough sunshine in all regions?

    Solar thermal systems produce hot water whether the system is installed in Sweden, Germany, India, Tunisia or South America. The annual yield depends on the application (domestic hot water, pool heating, space heating), the local climatic conditions and system dimensioning (high or low solar fraction). The annual collector yield per square metre of collector area lies around 250 kWh/m2 for unglazed pool heating systems, 400 kWh/m2 for solar combi systems for hot water production and space heating in northern regions, and up to 700 kWh/m2 for installations in southern European regions used only for hot water preparation.

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  • What can solar thermal technology be used for?

    There is a wide variety of applications for solar thermal technology. The most common application is the heating of pool water, the heating of domestic hot water and space heating. Not very wide spread yet are solar cooling systems, because of the complexity of the technology and the high initial investment costs. Also, process heat applications such as in breweries or car washes, as well as in the food and textile industries, are still in their infancy. You can search for all these different kinds of applications in the filter section market sectors on the right hand side of the page.

    What is the difference between vacuum tube collectors and flat plate collectors? With flat plate glazed collectors the absorbers are fitted in a box closed by a pane of glass (90 % market share in 2009 in Europe). Vacuum tube collectors – which are the dominating technology in China (96 % market share in 2008) – have the absorber coating on the outside of the inner tube in placed within an evacuated glass tube. Generally speaking, the advantage of vacuum tubes is a higher efficiency (less space required for the collector on the roof) and higher temperatures (necessary for process heat and some solar cooling technologies).

    The disadvantage: The vacuum tubes produced in Europe are more expensive than the flat plate collectors but in some incentive schemes like in Germany they receive the same grants as the flat plate collectors. In China, some locally produced vacuum tube collectors have a poor quality performance, flat plate collectors are seen as high-quality products.

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