Austria: Robert Kanduth Buys Back 50 % Greenonetec Stake

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 1, 2015
Robert KanduthDanish Solarcap’s solar disinvestment strategy continues: In November 2014, the subsidiary of the Danish VKR Holding sold its 50 % share in Austrian collector manufacturer Greenonetec back to the founder, Robert Kanduth (see photo). Kanduth is an Austrian entrepreneur with experiences in a wide variety of business segments, such as hotels, photovoltaics, as well as solar thermal. The second half of Greenonetec belongs to Austrian company Kioto Clear Energy, of which Kanduth owns around 65 %. This holding has 310 staff and made a turnover of EUR 90 million in 2013, including solar thermal and solar photovoltaic production.
Photo: Greenonetec
 

Geo-Solar House Design Made in Romania

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 31, 2014
Solaris HouseBetween 19 and 21 November 2014, the seventh Renexpo South-East Europe fair in Bucharest, Romania, brought together 100 companies from across 12 European countries. The Palace Hall seemed to be almost too small to host the three-day event. The conference, which ran parallel to the fair, offered a wide variety of topics, from hydropower to cogeneration, biogas, photovoltaics and energy efficiency. There was no session dedicated exclusively to solar thermal, but some presentations also covered case studies including solar heating and cooling. One of these presentations was about the Casa Solaris, the geo-solar house by Romanian company Geoterm (see photo). 
Photo: Geoterm
 

China: Association Assembly Titled “Keep the faith in reform and innovation”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 30, 2014
CSTIFChina is not only number one in installed solar thermal power worldwide, but it is also the country quickest to publish the results of current market statistics. Hundreds of industry stakeholders met in the city of Linyi, Shandong province, on 18 and 19 December 2014 to discuss the currently difficult market situation for solar heating and cooling during the annual assembly of the Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF). According to the annual market statistics published by The Sun´s Vision from Dezhou, Shandong, newly installed collector area was down by 18 %, from 63.6 million m² (44.5 GWth) in 2013 to 52.4 million m² (36.7 GWth) in 2014. Hongzhi Cheng, Head of Sun´s Vision and Vice President of CSTIF, expects market volume to drop only slightly in 2015, down to 50 million m² (35 GWth). This year’s USD 300 million of export volume was the same as in 2013. 
Photo: CSTIF
 

India: First Solar Thermal Steam Storage for Cooking Applications

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 23, 2014
India Steam StorageThe Ramakrishna Mission Student’s Home in the city of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state on India’s southeast coast, is a combined residential high school and polytechnic college. It caters for around 700 orphan and poor students by providing free education, food and accommodation each year. The kitchen, which is supplied by Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), has witnessed a sudden increase in costs because reductions in subsidies have led to rising energy prices. Hence, the mission’s management decided on a solar concentrating system in order to reduce LPG demand for cooking. The dish concentrator was installed three months ago. 
Photo: Clique Solar
 

Germany: Second Tax Rebate Attempt to Make Buildings Energy-Efficient

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 22, 2014
German Action PlanThe third of December 2014 was a historically sunny day for the German solar thermal sector: On this date, the government approved the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, NAPE, which had been drafted by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The document lists a number of short-term measures to help reach the national target of 14 % of renewable heat by 2020 (see the attached document in German). The key measure is a tax rebate for the energy-efficient modernisation of buildings, worth EUR 1 billion annually. The German renewable associations welcomed the plan, but called on politicians to find a compromise with the state governments as soon as possible because their refusal blocked the implementation of a similar measure two years ago. 
 

Switzerland: Solar Thermal Systems Cost Almost Twice as Much as in Austria

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 20, 2014
Swiss System PricesThe Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) has just published a study on end customer prices for solar thermal systems in Switzerland. It turns out that, including installation, a typical Swiss solar thermal system configuration for a single-family home costs almost twice as much in Switzerland as they would in neighbouring Austria and about 30 % more than in southern Germany (see chart on the left). High labour costs and quality standards account for much of the price difference, but they cannot explain all of it. The study, which was carried out by Swiss company Ernst Basler + Partner, includes measures that can be taken to reduce prices on the market (see the attached document in German).
Figure: Swiss Federal Office of Energy
 

Brief on Solar Thermal Research & Development Activities of Sokoto Energy Research Centre, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto - Nigeria (2014)

Submitted by Francesco Gattiglio on December 18, 2014

This document was presented at the ECOWAS Solar Thermal Energy Capacity Building and Demonstration Programme conference held on 13 and 14 June 2014 in Praia, Cape Verde. The presentation was made by Dr M M Garba from the Sokoto Energy Research Centre, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria. 

Austria: Gasokol and Sunwin Merge

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 18, 2014
SunWin and GasokolAustria’s market consolidation continues: At the beginning of December 2014, the two collector manufacturers Gasokol and Sunwin announced that they would merge their businesses and manufacturing activities. Sunwin´s modern production line would be moved from Pasching, where Sunwin´s company headquarters are located, to Saxen, Gasokol’s headquarters 50 kilometres away, and the new manufacturer would start operating at the beginning of 2015. According to the press release, the offerings of the two companies would still be available after the merger. The photo shows Gasokol´s Managing Director Ronald Gattringer (left) shaking hands with Sunwin´s Managing Director Hans Neunteufel. 
Photo: Gasokol
 

Spain: Solar Thermal Incentives in Valencia

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 17, 2014
ValenciaFrom 10 December on, the government of the Spanish region of Valencia has been accepting applications from those institutions and enterprises willing to utilise renewable energy sources such as solar thermal. The overall budget of the Programa de Energias Renovables y Biocarburantes (translated as Programme for Renewable Energies and Biofuels) is EUR 145,000 and its grants cover up to 45 % of the solar thermal system costs. Investors can submit the application forms to the Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness, IVACE, until 28 December 2014 (see attached document).
Map: Wikipedia
 

Tunisia: Ups and Downs of Prosol Subsidy Scheme

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 15, 2014

Tunisia’s incentive and low-interest loan scheme Prosol can already celebrate its tenth anniversary next year. Since 2005, the Tunisian Company of Electricity and Gas, STEG, has been managing the programme, which enables end consumers to repay a loan for a solar water heater over five years by having the instalment amount charged to their monthly STEG electricity bill. The programme was praised as an ideal showcase for the entire region, because market volume grew by more than a factor of ten in only five years. Before the start of the grant programme in 2005, Tunisia had only had an annual installation figure of 7,000 m2. In 2008, the subsidised collector area was already at 80,000 m2. But last year, market volume dropped to 53,000 m2 because of several factors listed below.
Chart: National Agency for Energy Conversation

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