South Africa: Fresnel Collectors Keep It Cool in MTN’s Server Rooms

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 28, 2014
Industrial SolarSince June 2014, a Fresnel collector field with 242 kWth has been feeding into the district cooling system of the MTN Group at its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. MTN, which has more than 200 million customers, as well as subsidiaries in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East, is one of the leading mobile operators in South Africa – and it is aware of the impact of global warming. “We continuously explore ways in which we can lessen the impact of our operations on the environment. This initiative will not only reduce our carbon footprint but it will substantially reduce our electricity consumption, which will release additional capacity for the national grid,” MTN’s CEO, Zunaid Bulbulia, was quoted as saying in a press release from 17 July 2014. The concentrating solar thermal plant powers the double-effect absorption chiller whose cooling capacity of 330 kW keeps temperatures low in the data centre at MTN’s head office. 
Photo: Industrial Solar
 

China: Engineering Segment Drives Solar Thermal Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 27, 2014
China building integrationThe make-up of China’s solar thermal market is changing: The segment that used to guarantee the industry’s profits, the retail business of small thermosiphon systems for private households, has been declining in recent years. Other solar thermal segments, however, have been taking off in the meantime – for example, the market for more sophisticated solar thermal installations that are integrated into blocks of flats, hospitals, schools or universities. There is also growing interest in medium- and high-temperature solar thermal systems for industrial process heat. According to the annual surveys and market reports by Sun’s Vision, a consultancy located in Shandong province, the so-called solar thermal engineering market, which includes building integration and industrial process heat systems, increased by 50% in 2012 and 2013, after having grown by 35 % in 2011. The pie chart shows the individual categories of the building integration segment in 2013, which was the main driver of the national market.
Source: Sun´s Vision
 

Australia: Ken Guthrie Appointed as New Chairman of IEA SHC Programme

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 26, 2014
Ken GuthrieIt was the second time an Australian was chosen to head the Solar Heating and Cooling Programme of the International Energy Agency (IEA SHC Programme): In June, Ken Guthrie was elected Chair of the Executive Committee for the next two years. Guthrie founder and Director of Sustainable Energy Transformation, a renewable energy consultancy, since August 2012 after having served as General Manager of Sustainable Environs at Sustainability Victoria for three years. Prior to that he worked in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in Victorian Government agencies since the mid 1980’s. He was instrumental in initiatives to increase solar water heating in Australia through the Renewable Energy Target, subsidies and new housing regulations. 
 

India: Government Stops Federal Subsidy Scheme

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 25, 2014
“Channel partners are free to sell on their own without subsidy from Government of India,” the office memorandum by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy stated on 12 August 2014. This is an important victory for India’s solar water heater manufacturers, which pre-financed around INR 3 billion (about EUR 37 million) in subsidised systems over the last years without being compensated by the MNRE. The manufacturers or their dealers had to sell the solar collector systems as net-of subsidy and claim reimbursement by the government later. Through a strong and solidly united campaign, the Solar Thermal Federation of India made the ministry aware of the extremely difficult business situation over the last one-and-a-half years and called “for the immediate settlement of the pending claims in order to save the industry from bankruptcy”. MNRE’s Secretary, Upendra Tripathy, reviewed the situation and concluded that instead of liabilities mounting, the present subsidy scheme better had to be halted. The subsidy on off-grid PV up to 1 kWp had already been put on hold in April 2014.
 

Netherlands: Energy Demand Reduced to 25 kWh/m²a in Just One Day

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 22, 2014
Roosendaal1In recent years, Roosendaal’s De Kroeven, the Dutch city’s district of terraced houses built in the 1960s (left photo), has radically changed not only its stone face but also its energy performance (right). Netherland’s largest passive-house retrofit project equipped 246 houses with new insulation and solar thermal energy systems. 50 of these houses were part of European project E2ReBuild, which is short for Industrialised Energy Efficient Retrofitting of Residential Buildings in Cold Climates.
Photos: Demonstrator Roosendaal report / E2ReBuild
 

China: No Sales Permit without Solar

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 21, 2014
China mandatory lawsIn 2007, some provincial and city governments in China began to implement solar installation requirements. Since then, an increasing number of authorities at different administrative levels have made the installation of solar thermal systems mandatory in new-builds in the residential and public sector, for example, in universities, schools, hospitals and nursing homes. The documents which have led to the development of provincial and municipal solar water heater installation requirements were the 11th Five-Year Plan New Energy and Renewable Energy Development (2006-2010) and the Renewable Energy Law of China. Despite some past announcements, there have not yet been any solar building requirements at national level. 
Photo: Simon Goess
 

Romania: EBRD Finance Facilities Support Romania‘s Near-Forgotten Solar Thermal Tradition

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 21, 2014
Logos RomaniaWhen it comes to solar thermal energy, there are interesting parallels between Romania and its southern neighbour Bulgaria. Both countries had already used solar thermal energy under communist rule decades ago. But the ecological tradition seemed lost when both countries made their difficult transition to a democratic and capitalist society. According to a report by the European ENTRANZE passive house project, Romania ranked fifth in the number of globally installed flat plate collectors in 1989, but “the lack of technicians and of policies to develop maintenance services, as well as bad national resource efficiency policies (e.g., which led to copper being replaced by iron pipes in solar collectors) led to notable failures among installed systems.” The ENTRANZE authors note that these technical problems gave solar water heaters quite a negative image in Romania. It was only since the beginning of this millennium that they have been able to get rid of this image and “gain a certain popularity on the market”.
 

India: Portable Kit Allows Testing Bulky Concentrating Collectors Onsite

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 20, 2014
Launch testing centerThe construction of the first testing centre for concentrating solar thermal technology was completed in record time: “The actual work began in mid-February 2014 and was completed by mid-July. It was a real challenge for us, which we are proud to have overcome,” Dr Subhash Ghaisas said in an interview with solarthermalword.org. Ghaisas is not only the Director of the School of Energy Studies, University of Pune, but is also responsible for the new testing site. The photo shows the guests invited to the opening of the testing centre on 22 July 2014, including Dr Ghaisas (sixth from right) and Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary for Solar at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (sixth from left). Also invited was Dr Avinash Singhal (third from left), National Project Manager of the initiative Market Development and Promotion of Solar Concentrator based Process Heat Applications, which financed the new testing centre. 
Photo: Malaviya Solar Energy Consultancy.
 

Austria: Tisun’s Biggest Relaunch in 25-Year Company History

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 14, 2014
TisunA desk and a phone were all that the owners of a garage and a basement office in Kitzbühel, Austria, needed to found solar thermal manufacturer Tisun (formerly known as Teufel & Schwarz) 25 years ago. Today, Tisun exports 83% of its products to over 40 countries worldwide. The company has about 80 staff at its headquarters in Söll, Austria, and engages more than 90 sales representatives all over Europe. According to the company, Tisun has just had “the biggest product relaunch of its history. At the beginning of August, the company exchanged 70 % of its products into new and innovative state-of-the-art items.” Tisun also invested in a semi-automated collector production unit featuring CMT (Cold Metal Transfer) welding for the tray (see photo). 
Photo: Tisun
 

France: subvention scheme requirements for collective solar thermal installations in Languedoc-Roussillon – Prométhée Programme (2014)

Submitted by Chris Heron on August 13, 2014

(This article is in French)   ADEME, the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management, has published a guidance document on the requirements needed to benefit from state aids for the installation of collective solar thermal systems in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon. The programme grants financial aids for feasibility studies and for solar thermal installation in buildings with high domestic hot water needs, such as social housing, hospitals, hotels, swimming pools.

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