Finance and Incentives

  • Solar Victory in the U.S.

    Solar Victory in the U.S.

    The first days of October were sunny days for the renewables in the United States. First the Senate and two days later the House of Representatives passed the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 which extends the 30 % investment tax credits (ITC) for solar thermal systems as well as...

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  • 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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  • Green credits in Mexico: Push for the Market

    Green credits in Mexico: Push for the Market

    Social housing in Mexico with solar water heaters: Tecamac is a typical suburb of Mexico City, where inhabitants can purchase apartments at a reasonable price. Photo: GTZ Mexico

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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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  • 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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  • SEF Directory: Database of Lenders and Investors Worldwide

    The Sustainable Energy Finance Directory (SEF) is a free-of-charge online database of lenders and investors who actively provide finance to the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector worldwide. "We support project developers, firms from the renewable energy sector, and communities that are...
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  • Summer boom in Germany

    Summer boom in Germany

    Germany's solar thermal market is growing again, and this at an astonishing rate. After market sales plummeted by 37 % in the past year, the monthly sales statistics of BDH (Federal Industrial Association Germany House, Energy and Environmental Technology) – as they are available to the author –...
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  • Tunisian Market Growing Rapidly

    Tunisian Market Growing Rapidly

    The Tunisian solar thermal market has increased tenfold in only the last four years. Before starting the grant programme Prosol II in 2005, only 7,000 m2 had been installed in Tunisia (4.9 MWth). Last year already showed installations of 60,000 m2 (42 MWth...
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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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  • Which are the main market drivers?

    Generally speaking, you can differentiate between naturally growing markets and incentive driven markets. In the former, low-cost solar water heaters are already an economic alternative for households to produce hot water instead of using fossil fuels or electricity. Some examples are: China, which is the biggest solar thermal market in the world, Cyprus which has one of the highest solar thermal capacities in operation per capita in the world, and Turkey, which is the third biggest market in the world.

    In incentive driven markets like Germany, there are grants for households and companies. In Austria there is a nationwide subsidy scheme for hotels and guesthouses and there are grants at a provincial level for household customers.

    A third category is markets driven by legal frameworks such as solar obligations. The most famous example is Israel, where the government – because of the oil crisis – passed an obligation applying to all new residential buildings as well as hotels, old people’s homes and boarding schools 29 years ago. Spain followed two years ago with a national solar obligation. In the meantime 15 countries more adapted renewable building laws or solar obligations. You find further news on this issues in the filter section "key pillars", then "policy" and "obligation". 

    Further information: “Best practise regulations for solar thermal”, Study by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), August 2007 http://www.estif.org/fileadmin/estif/content/policies
    /STAP/Best_practice_solar_regulations.pdf

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