Dai Yanjun is among the key solar cooling researchers in China. In cooperation with the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) Programme, the professor with more than 15 years of experience in solar cooling research at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) organised the Solar Cooling Week in Shanghai in March. Since 2005, he is Professor at the Institute of Refrigeration and Cryogenics and sees the most promising research being done in the field of thermally driven chillers which fit to standard flat plate and vacuum tube collectors on the market. He also participates in the development of solutions for areas with high humidity.
The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation is expanding its services in policy advocacy and communication. In October 2014, the Brussels-based association set up a new information tool for members called ESTIF Policy Briefing, which is a regular newsletter gathering links to the most recent news from the EU commission and other international organisations relevant to the solar heating and cooling sector. In July, ESTIF started a new series of Webmeetings with national trade associations in form of webinars. During the first online meeting, ESTIF´s policy officer, Stefano Lambertucci, informed the association representatives about major policy topics from the European Commission and suggested actions at national level. Lambertucci joined ESTIF in 2014 after previous jobs in the Permanent Representation of Italy and in the European Commission. He graduated in International Relations and created and manages the new policy communication tools, such as the ESTIF Twitter account and the Policy Briefing newsletter.
The sixth invitation to tender for large-scale solar thermal systems in Austria is still accepting applications until 24 September. The Austrian Climate and Energy Fund has again allocated a budget of EUR 5.9 million for installing collector fields of between 100 and 2,000 m2 for process heat, district heating, solar cooling, systems with high solar coverage above 20 % in trade and business and innovative technologies. The subsidy covers 40 % of the additional, environmentally relevant costs of the installation and grants a 5 % bonus for small and medium enterprises. As in the past, applicants must consult with experts from one of the three selected Austrian research institutes before submitting their proposal. Over the first five years, the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund spent EUR 17,258,324 on 163 projects. The pie chart shows the distribution of the 163 approved projects broken down by application.
Figure: Austrian Climate and Energy Fund
In 2006, Arizona's utility regulators at the Corporation Commission approved the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) stipulating that all utilities are to generate 15 % of their energy by renewable sources by 2025. This gave a push to solar water heating, because the utilities subsidised solar water heaters whenever they offset electric water heaters. In 2011, US-based consultancy GTM Research placed Arizona at the pole position – before Hawaii – in the ranking of the states with the highest number of installed solar water heaters (see chart). But then PV became more popular and led to a drastically reduced demand for solar thermal systems. In 2016, the state’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service (APS), will even let the incentives for solar thermal run out, as their renewable target has already been reached.
Source: GTM Research
The Brazilian market for solar collectors grew by 4.5 % in 2014, according to numbers published by DASOL, the Solar Heating Department of the Brazilian Association of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Heating, ABRAVA, in early July 2015 (see the attached pdf). In total, DASOL reports 1.44 million m2 of newly installed glazed and unglazed collector area throughout the year. The glazed market segment grew by 5.3 %, a little more than the unglazed segment with 4.6 %. After two years of double-digit growth rates, this is a rather small increase owed to the overall economic slowdown. The share of vacuum tube collectors remains marginal, accounting for no more than 1.1 % of total sales.
Source: DASOL / ABRAVA
Direct steam production, 35,000 litres of diesel saved per year and the advantage of the Italian incentive scheme for renewable heat: All these favourable conditions allowed a small dairy in Sardinia to choose a concentrated solar thermal plant with Fresnel collectors for generating 200 °C steam. The steam is used to supply heat to the industrial processes for cheese production. The investment of EUR 400,000 will have a payback period of about 4 years.
The newly installed collector area in the Netherlands has not grown by a significant margin since 2011, and it even decreased slightly in 2013 (see the chart on the left). According to the Dutch industry association Holland Solar, this is to be considered a fair outcome, as the number of new residential construction permits has declined in recent years. Residential construction is by far the most important market for solar thermal technology in the country. There have not yet been any statistics on the newly installed collector area in 2014, but considering that the number of building permits was twice as much in 2014 than in the previous year, experts estimate that solar thermal sales will at least have remained at their previous levels. The authors from the German-Dutch Chamber of Commerce, DNHK, see a silver lining for 2015 in a market analysis published in May 2015 in the framework of the German Renewable Energies Export Initiative (see the attached PDF in German).
Source: Central Office for Statistics in the Netherlands, CBS
The solar thermal industry created about 11,400 jobs in Germany in 2013, according to a comprehensive job study called Employment by the renewable sector in Germany. Development and operation, today and tomorrow financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, BMWi, and published by the German Institute for Economic Research, DIW, in March 2015 (see the attached PDF in German). Its authors find that direct and indirect employment in the solar thermal subsector had then diminished by 6.6 % compared to 2012. Only 3.1 % of all jobs created by renewable energies in Germany, e.g., 371,400 jobs, showed a relation to solar heating and cooling. The study is based on two former job studies on the German renewable energy sector in 2006 and 2011. The Working Group on Renewable Energy Statistics, AGEE, which was established in 2004, contributed a large portion of the data.
German research institute Solites has compared different models of solar heat use in district heating networks by focusing on the economic viability of these projects. The study Solar Heat Networks for Baden-Württemberg – Fundamentals. Potentials. Strategies. published at the beginning of July was supported by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector of Baden-Württemberg, a federal state in the south of Germany (see the attached document in German). The authors of the study analyse seven different generic types of district heating systems which integrate solar thermal, and they come to the conclusion that type 3, 6 and 7, i.e., applications in small rural district heating systems as well as integrations into existing larger urban district heating systems, generate the lowest solar heat costs. On average, heat costs are around 60 EUR/MWh over a period of 25 years, excluding subsidies. In some cases, they even get below 50 EUR/MWh.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way” is the slogan at Sharman Shawls, one of India’s leading garment industry and export companies. Based in Punjab state in northern India, Sharman Shawls uses diesel to meet the hot water requirements for dyeing, bleaching and washing garments. The enterprise’s daily consumption is close to 200,000 litres of water and the processes require almost 1,700 litres of diesel per day. 180 flat plate collectors preheat hot water to 80 °C, saving 82 litres of diesel at 300 days a year. Space constraints have limited the diesel saving per day to 5 %.