Germany/Italy: Alanod-Almeco – Merger between Equals?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 6, 2014
Logos Alanod AlmecoJust a few days before Intersolar Europe 2014 opened its doors in Munich, Germany, news broke of the merger between the two largest solar coating manufacturers in Europe, the Alanod Group, headquartered in Ennepetal, northern Germany, and the Almeco Group whose headquarters are located in Milano, Italy. The company will be called Alanod-Almeco, with headquarters in Ennepetal. Both partners have confirmed the plans to retain both the sales teams and the entire product offering. However, the facts contradict a merger between equals: Alanod is definitely the larger partner. The company with 460 staff had a turnover of EUR 160 million in 2013, whereas the Almeco Group with its 250 staff achieved a turnover of EUR 75 million last year. The new company will be headed by only one person, Ingo Beyer, CEO of the Alanod Group, and the new logo for Alanod-Almeco only includes the Italian partner’s blue triangle.
 

SDH Conference 2014: “We have to work on lighthouse projects”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 5, 2014
EnergiebunkerOn 3 and 4 June 2014, the halls of the old waterworks of municipal utility “Hamburg Energie” in Hamburg, Germany, became the venue for the 2nd International Solar District Conference. 115 participants from 13 countries and many different backgrounds were offered a wide range of presentations covering policy, market and technical issues, along with several practical examples of solar district heating plants. On top of that, the conference offered a technical tour to the solar district heating project “Energy Bunker” at the site of the International Building Exhibition IBA in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg (see photo). The Energy Bunker is one of these lighthouse projects speakers and participants deemed nessessary to make solar district heating visible to consumers and politicians. 
Photos: Stephanie Banse
 

German Centrotec Sustainable: “Increasing international business“

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 5, 2014
Centrotec Vorstand“The change at the top of Centrotec made the first quarter of 2014 an unusually turbulent one.” These were the words with which Guido A Krass (left), founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of German Centrotec Sustainable, started the annual shareholders´ meeting in Brilon, central Germany, on 20 May 2014. The long-term Chairman of the Management Board, Dr Gert-Jan Huisman, resigned with immediate effect in April 2014, to make room for the new management team of Dr Christoph Traxler (middle) and Dr Thomas Kneip, both with long-term experiences in leading positions within the Centrotec Group. Krass justified the parting with Huisman with different views on the company’s business policy, in particular regarding the future of the gas flue systems segment. “It was a friendly, but expensive resignation,” Krass said. Huisman received EUR 1 million in termination pay. 
Photos: Centrotec
 

Experimental Analysis on Performance of Solar Cooling System in UAE conditions (2014)

Submitted by Chris Heron on June 4, 2014

This presentation on the experimental analysis on the performance of a solar cooling system in United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) conditions was given by CSEM UAE Innovation Center at the second Southern African Solar Energy Conference (SASEC) that took place on 28 January 2014.

El Salvador: Small Market with Growth Potential

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 4, 2014
El SalvadorDespite its relatively small population of 6.2 million inhabitants and its total area of barely 21,000 km², which is half the size of The Netherlands, El Salvador shows potential for growth: The solar thermal market in the Central American country offers opportunities both at public health units and in the hotel sector. The country’s high fossil fuel dependency (41 % of its electricity is generated using diesel), high irradiation and lofty electricity prices (around 0.2 USD/kWh) are creating an increasingly attractive market for technologies such as solar water heating. A new energy efficiency law is underway and may provide extra incentives for solar thermal technologies. The photo shows a hot water system at the Hospital de Diagnòstico in San Salvador.
Photo: Tecnosolar
 

Europe: Energy Security Strategy to Improve Relevance of Renewable Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 3, 2014
ESTIFThe European Commission has now published its Communication on Energy Security, which proposes a set of immediate actions to address the current crisis, but mostly concentrates on other measures to be implemented in the longer term. The proposed actions include "an accelerated fuel switch in the heating sector to renewable heating technologies". In a press release from 30 May 2014, ESTIF, AEBIOM, EGEC, the industry associations representing the solar thermal, biomass and geothermal sector, respectively, welcomed the priority given to renewable heating in the Commission’s Communication on Energy Security strategy.
Photo: ESTIF
 

Uruguay: New Solar Thermal Regulations

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 3, 2014
Uruguay regulatiosSince 14 May 2014, Uruguay has had technical specifications for solar thermal installations. It was on this very day that the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mines approved the first edition of the Especificaciones Técnicas Uruguayas (ETUS), the Uruguayan Technical Specifications for all registered solar thermal installations in the country. These requirements are obligatory for all public buildings and all public enterprises, such as the state energy utility UTE, the National Administration of Telecommunications, ANTEL, and state-owned oil, cement and gas supplier ANCAP, as well as for residential installations by homeowners or solar systems at private companies, such as hotels or hospitals. The photo shows a thermosiphon system which was installed under the requirements of Mesa Solar which includes the same requirements as ETUS for thermosiphon systems.
Photo: Eliseo Cabrera
 

Denmark: Dronninglund Inaugurates 26 MWth Solar District Heating Plant

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 1, 2014
Dronninglund1The world’s currently largest solar district heating plant was inaugurated in Dronninglund, Denmark, on 2 May this year. The photo shows Carsten Møller Nielsen, Board Chairman at Dronninglund Fjernvarme, welcoming Rasmus Helveg Petersen, Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Building (to the left of the speaker). The system consists of 2,982 collectors with a total solar thermal capacity of 26 MWth (37,573 m²) and a 61,700 m³ seasonal pit heat storage and is planned to provide about 15,000 MWh per year. Its output will meet half of the annual heat demand of the plant’s 1,350 customers. According to the local district heating supplier Dronninglund Fjernvarme, the total investment costs for the plant amounted to DKK 106 million (EUR 14.6 million), of which EUR 6.1 million were invested in the solar installation (see the chart below). The plant was subsidised by the Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program, EUDP, which supported the project with Danish Krone (DKK) 21 million (EUR 2.953 Mio). The payback period is said to be 25 years. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Søren Elisiussen, CEO at Arcon Solar, which delivered the collectors and the support structure for the solar field, about the plant’s technical specifications.
Photo: Arcon Solar
 

Austria: Solar Process Heat Cheaper than Oil Boiler

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 31, 2014
Berger The solar process heat plant at Fleischwaren Berger in Sieghartskirchen, Austria, went into operation in July 2013. With its 1,067 m² of high-temperature flat plate collectors, it pre-heats water for steam and hot water production. According to calculations by Austrian company SOLID, which was responsible for the planning and the turnkey installation, the solar plant can deliver usable heat at lower costs than the existing oil boiler over a 25-year period and with a favourable interest rate. 
Photo: Green Foods
 

Position Paper : Renewables for Heating and Cooling and EU Security of Supply: Save over 20 Billion Euro Annually in Reduced Fossil Fuels Imports (May 2014)

Submitted by Chris Heron on May 30, 2014

AEBIOM (European Biomass Association), ESTIF (European Solar Thermal Industry Federation) and EGEC (European Geothermal Energy Council) have issued a joint position paper on renewables for heating and cooling and EU security of supply.  This paper focuses on 5 key issues.

The first issue is the security of supply as the EU relies mainly on gas supply from Russia (31% for industrial process and 41 % for heating of buildings).

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