Mexico: Pilot Polymer Water Heater Factory by 2016

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 26, 2015
AquathermTwo well-known solar thermal manufacturers from the USA and Mexico announced at the beginning of June that they will establish a joint-venture to manufacture polymer-based solar thermal absorbers and collectors in the Mexican city of Cuernavaca. The factory, which receives monetary support from CeMie-Sol, the Mexican Center for Innovation in Solar Energy, is expected to start producing by late 2016 with some 50,000 m² of capacity according to a press release published on 3 June. The plant should be fully operational by December 2018 and is located at the INNOVACyT Technology Park in Cuernavaca, just next to Modulo Solar’s headquarter. The photo shows the production of polypropylene absorber plates at Aquatherm. It is one of the manufacturing steps that should be done in Mexico as well. 
Photo: Aquatherm

Solar Electric and Solar Thermal Energy: A Summary of Current Technologies (2014)

Submitted by Francesco Gattiglio on June 26, 2015

This document, written by Tayyebatossadat P. Aghaei of the Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), illustrates the different applications of solar thermal and photovoltaic technology. 

After a brief introduction on the history of solar energy, the document firstly explains the functioning of large scale solar thermal technology systems, differentiating between flat-plate collectors and concentrator collectors. This section includes also graphic representations of the different systems.

Italy: Solar Thermal Municipalities Growing in Number

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 25, 2015
Solaretermico Municipality ItalyLegambiente, one of the major environmental associations in Italy, releases a report every year on the diffusion of renewables at local level, highlighting the role of municipalities and stressing their commitment, for instance, to renewable use in public buildings (see the attached document in Italian). For nine years, this report titled Renewable Municipalities (Comuni Rinnovabili in Italian) has shown maps, rankings and best-practice examples to illustrate the deployment of the different clean technologies: The current study, published in May 2015, listed 6,803 Italian municipalities with solar thermal installations from a total number of about 8,000 in 2014. This represents a huge increase from the 108 municipalities having solar water heating installed in their community in the first survey in 2005. The map displays the cumulated solar capacity at regional level at the end of 2014, with the red areas pointing to broad solar water heater usage. 
Source: Legambiente

Worldwide: Rough Estimates Say between 0.5 and 2.2 Million Solar Heating and Cooling Jobs

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 23, 2015
IRENA job pie chartData on the number of solar water heating and cooling jobs differs greatly from publication to publication. According to the annual study Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2015 by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), there were approximately 764,000 people employed in solar heating and cooling globally in 2014, 16 % lower than in 2013 because of the market decline in China. The pie chart shows the distribution among the main markets. The Solar Heat Worldwide 2013 report, published in June 2015 by Austrian research institute AEE INTEC, assumes worldwide employment figures in solar thermal to add up to no more than 460,000 full-time jobs in 2014 (find both studies attached).
Chart: IRENA

Germany: Solar + Heat Pump + Ice Storage Achieves Seasonal Performance Factor of 5.6

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 22, 2015
Ice storage ConsalarGerman company Consolar offers a heating system called SOLAERA, which combines a heat pump with a specially designed solar collector and a heat storage space using the latent heat released when water freezes to ice (see photo). The solar heat pump system with 18 m² of collector area, a 300 litre ice storage space and a 1,000 litre buffer tank provides enough energy to heat a well-insulated building in Germany. In a field test by a local environment group, Lokale Agenda 21, it achieved a Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF) of 5.6, putting performance even above prior simulations. The SPF describes the ratio of delivered heat to electricity consumed over the entire year. Consolar sold about 160 solar heat pump systems in total, mostly in Germany but also in Denmark, the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Italy. The systems there achieved SPFs between 3.5 and 6, depending on collector field size, maximum flow temperature and heat demand.
Photo: Consolar

MENA: First Online Training Program on Solar Water Heaters Certification

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 21, 2015
SHAMCI TrainingIn March, the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE) launched an online training program on the Solar Water Heaters (SWHs) Quality Assurance and Certification Scheme in the Arab region. The training course aims to provide participants with sufficient knowledge on SWH quality and certification schemes, such as the Solar Heating Arab Mark and Certification Initiative (SHAMCI). Participants can register for the training course online. According to the RCREEE, it is the first online training in the Middle East and North Africa region. The implementation of the course was supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Italy: First 18-Months Results of Conto Termico Subsidy Scheme

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 17, 2015
Conto TermicoThe administrator of Italy’s national subsidy scheme Conto Termico, Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), counted 9,658 applications over the first 18 months, among them 7,720 which reached the contract phase before the end of 2014. According to a recent GSE study called Performance Report on Conto Termico, solar water heating systems have been the technology of choice for 71 % of the approved applications, followed by biomass boilers with 24.5 %, although the gap between solar thermal and biomass stands wider in the southern regions of Italy (see attached document in Italian). The majority of subsidised solar water heaters have a size below 5 m² of collector area, as can be seen on the chart to the right, which shows all 5,443 approved solar applications. There are only 5 systems above 50 m² among the approved applications.
Figure: GSE 

IEA SHC: Market Report Aggregates 56 Country Statistics

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 16, 2015
Solar Heat WorldwideIt is the most comprehensive publication on the global solar water heating market: the annual study Solar Heat Worldwide. On behalf of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (SHC), Austrian research institute AEE INTEC has gathered data on 2013 market development from 56 countries worldwide – covering 95 % of the world market. The institute has asked national stakeholders for newly installed capacity, type of technology and application. Accumulating such detailed information at global level gives a comprehensive overview of the world market for solar heating and cooling. According to an extrapolation of the missing 5 %, installers set up a total capacity of 55 GWth – or 78.6 million m2 of glazed and unglazed solar collectors – in these 56 countries. The pie charts show the growing importance of large domestic hot water applications in multi-family buildings as well as the tourism and public sector (see page 36/37 of the attached study). In 2013, 17 % of the newly installed collector capacity was installed in this segment (right), whereas it only accounts for 9 % of the total installed collector capacity in operation (left). The number of unglazed solar collectors for private swimming pools has diminished worldwide. Although they still make up 6 % of the total capacity, they only contributed 3 % to the new collector capacity in 2013. With 577 MWth (0.8 million m2) of newly installed capacity in 2013, non-residential applications, such as district heating, process heat and cooling, are still a real niche market. 
Source: Solar Heat Worldwide 2013 edition 2015

Russia: Astrakhan’s Solar District Heating Plant

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 15, 2015
Russian InstallationIt is said to be the largest solar thermal plant in Russia: 2,200 collector modules by German heating boiler manufacturer Bosch Thermotechnik have been installed next to a district heating system in Narimanov in the Astrakhan region in southwest Russia. The district heating plant includes 5 new gas boilers from Bosch Thermotechnik with a total of 30 MW. The complete state-of-the-art heat supply unit – gas and solar – was financed by Astrakhan’s regional government. It was commissioned in October 2012 and inaugurated in June 2013 after a fairly short planning time. The existing district heating system with separate pipes for hot water and space heating provides heat for the 11,600 inhabitants of Narimanov. The 4,400 m² collector field feeds into the hot water pipe system. 
Photo: Bosch Thermotechnik

Solar Water Heating (2009)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on June 8, 2015

This is a presentation on solar thermal systems for heating residential water and floors. It was created by WSE Technologies, a solar energy company in Canada, and explains various aspects of solar thermal water and floor heating for individuals who live in Canada. The presentation starts by explaining why evacuated tubes are the best kind of system for dealing with the Canadian climate.