Denmark: “We have improved the cost/performance ratio by around 50 % over the last 5 years”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 4, 2014
ElisiussenStrong competition and best cost/performance ratios have made the Danish district heating market one of the most successful case studies within the European solar thermal market. The two key features of the Danish model are the cost-optimised large solar fields above 10,000 m² with prices as low as 200 EUR/m², including installation, and the low interest rates for the investment with only 3 % over the expected lifetime of the system of at least 20 years. The resulting heat price is as low as 31 EUR/MWh, beating by far the heat price of a gas-fired district heating plant. Søren Elisiussen, CEO of Arcon, a Danish collector manufacturer and large-scale turnkey solar systems provider, explained his business case during the panel discussion New Business Models for the Solar Thermal Industry at the international conference SMEThermal 2014 in Berlin, Germany, on 18 February 2014.
Photo: Stephanie Banse
 
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EBRD and USAID Promote Solar Thermal in Armenia

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 3, 2014
SOS children village in ArmeniaArmenia is better known in the world for unresolved territorial disputes with its neighbour Azerbaijan than for being a pioneer in solar thermal energy. In fact, the utilisation of solar energy for water heating and space cooling is not as common among the around 3 million Armenians as it could be. The Eurasian country at the foot of Mount Ararat has favourable climate conditions: According to the Armenia Energy Profile 2012 by Chinese online media agency glObserver, the sun in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, shines almost 2,600 hours each year and the average annual solar radiation across the country is around 1,720 kWh/m². The photo shows solar water heaters on a cottage in an SOS Children´s Village in Armenia. The systems were funded by the Clean Energy and Water Program (CEWP)
Photo: ME&A / CWEP
 
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India: College Hostel Enjoys Very Competitive Solar Heat Prices

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 3, 2014
srinathCost-competitive heat prices can be a convincing argument for solar thermal in India. That shows the case study of a solar hot water system for the college hostel of the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM) in the city of Hyderabad in the south of India. The calculations by solar thermal system supplier Emmvee Solar Systems result in a solar heat price of 3.2 Indian Rupees (INR) per kWhth (39 EUR/MWh) over a life cycle of 10 years, whereas electric water heaters would cost the university 6.7 INR/kWhth (82 EUR/MWh) - double as much. The price per kWh from an oil boiler would even be as high as 8 INR/kWhth (100 EUR/MWh). Thippegowda Srinath, Technical Director at Emmvee Solar Systems, presented the case study during the panel discussion New Business Models for the Solar Thermal Industry at the international conference SMEThermal 2014 in Berlin, Germany, on 18 February.
Photo: Stephanie Banse
 
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SMEThermal 2014: “The challenge is the energy storage”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 2, 2014
latent heat storageLarge storage capacity, modular design, high storage density and low heat losses: These are the current requirements for solar thermal heat storage. The result is that hot water storage products are often stretched to their limits. Alternatives could be phase change materials (PCMs) or thermo-chemical materials (TCMs). During the SMEThermal 2014 conference in Berlin, Dr Henner Kerskes, Research Associate at the Research and Testing Centre for Thermal Solar Systems, TZS, of the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and Monte C Magill, Business Development Director at US company Entropy Solutions, explained the design, operation and possibilities of latent heat and thermo-chemical energy storage solutions (see the attached documents).
Photos: Stephanie Banse
 
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Simulation of Hybrid Solar-Geothermal Heat Pump Systems (2014)

Submitted by Chris Heron on February 28, 2014

This paper, which was presented at the 39th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering taking place at Stanford University, California, from 24 to26 February, describes a simulation model of hybrid solar-geothermal heat systems for both heating-dominated and cooling-dominated buildings. 

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“We try to take the complication out of the energy business, not only for our customers, but also for our industry partners.”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 28, 2014
J_SchaeferSkyline Innovations, the United States’ largest solar thermal developer by project volume, finances, develops, and operates commercial-scale solar thermal systems for small and medium-sized enterprises. Skyline’s customers are able to achieve operational savings from day one by purchasing the renewable energy from Skyline’s system at a fixed discount to their conventional utility. According to the company 104 projects are completed to date, 96 currently in design/build phase, and another 41 signed to be built. Justin Schafer, Product Manager at Skyline, took part in a panel discussion about New Business Models in Solar Thermal at SMEThermal 2014, an international conference for industry professionals held in Berlin on 18 February. Schafer joined Skyline in January 2012 and has worked in sales and marketing in both their Washington, DC and Los Angeles offices. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Schafer about Skyline´s successful business model.
Photo: Stephanie Banse
 
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Austria/Europe: General Solar Systems and Sonnenkraft Management Buyout

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 27, 2014
Since 1 January 2014, General Solar Systems (GSS), one of the biggest solar thermal system suppliers in Europe, has had a new owner: Together with Austrian investors, former GSS Financial Director Primus Spitzer took over the company from Danish Solarcap, a subsidiary of VKR Holding. The takeover was announced in a press release on 3 February 2014. GSS with its well-known brand Sonnenkraft is now owned by Austrian company PS Helios headquartered in St Veit, Austria, with Spitzer being the only shareholder. According to the press release, GSS employed nearly 150 staff and achieved a turnover of around EUR 45 million in 2013.
 
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Poland: Associations Criticise Plans for New Grant Scheme

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 26, 2014
The Association of Manufacturers and Importers of Heating Appliances (Polish acronym: SPIUG) and the Institute for Renewable Energy (Polish initialism: IEO) have criticised the draft of the new Prosument programme which is planned to replace the current grant scheme during the second half of 2014. Both organisations claim that reducing the grant from 45% to 10% of the investment costs is too strong a measure to further attract interest in renewable heating systems, such as solar thermal technology. The other part of the investment is to be covered by a low-interest loan with 1%. 
 
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Mexico: ANES to Provide National Solar Market Statistics

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 24, 2014
Since 2010, there have been no official figures on the real size of Mexico’s solar thermal market. The national solar energy association, ANES, is now carrying out an ambitious survey to show just how much solar thermal and photovoltaic capacity has been installed in the country. The results will be published in the second half of 2014 and may be a useful tool for promoting new incentive schemes. The latest estimates show 200 MW (285,000 m²) of newly installed solar thermal capacity in 2013.
 
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South Africa: Solar Thermal Experts Lecture at University of Pretoria

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 19, 2014
Learning from professionals: On 3 and 4 February 2014, solar thermal experts offered a specialist workshop on Solar Heat for Industrial Applications at the University of Pretoria. The 40 places for the workshop were exclusively limited to persons who had attended previous SOLTRAIN courses or who had experience with large solar water systems in Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa or Zimbabwe. Lesotho has also been part of the SOLTRAIN project since October 2013. "The best SOLTRAIN course ever," was the positive response of the attendees, according to a press release sent out by Prof Dieter Holm, regional SOLTRAIN coordinator in South Africa.
Photo: Dieter Holm
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