Germany: Insolvency of Long-Standing Collector Manufacturer

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 5, 2014
Wagner SolarThe news about the insolvency of Wagner & Co Solartechnik in April has shocked the German solar thermal sector. The appointed preliminary insolvency administrator, Dr Jan Markus Plathner, solicitor at Brinkmann & Partner, stated in a press release that Wagner initiated insolvency procedures on 22 April 2014. The company, which was founded in 1979, is one of the longest-lived solar thermal system suppliers in Germany. It has been producing collectors for almost 30 years and has sold more than 1 million m² of collector area. The company is well-known for its highly efficient collectors with anti-reflective coating on the glass cover, which achieved excellent results during the tests by Germany’s consumer organisation, Stiftung Warentest. Wagner also made headlines for its zero-emission collector factory, which was inaugurated in 2008 (see photo) and for the second highly efficient office building opened in 2012. Another particular characteristic of the company is its shareholding structure: Wagner is fully owned by its employees.
Photo: Wagner
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Uruguay: Raising Awareness and Quality

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 3, 2014
Uruguay Solar InstallationUruguay’s solar thermal market is growing slowly, but it is growing – thanks to a residential subsidy scheme and a government decree. The scheme, which started in March 2012, has so far subsidised a solar water heater in almost 1,000 households with between 40 and 70% of the investment costs. The decree, Decreto No 451/011, stipulates a 50% solar hot water share in sport clubs, hospitals and hotels for both newly built and soon-to-be-renovated buildings, a move that has already helped to install several larger systems. The photos show a case study of a larger system installed on the roof of the Lawn Tennis Club in Montevideo. The flat plate collectors from company Alejandro Baroni were manufactured locally. 
Photos: Andrés Eliseo Cabrera
 
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Designing Solar Thermal Systems for Architectural Integration (2013)

Submitted by Chris Heron on May 2, 2014

This report, from the IEA SHC Task 41 Solar Energy and Architecture, provides a series of criteria and guidelines for product and system developers in order to design solar thermal systems which integrate into the overall architecture of buildings. 

The document focuses on general architectural integration issues and gives recommendations on system development.  It analyses 3 solar thermal technologies (glazed flat plate, unglazed flat plates and evacuated tubes collectors) and explain which options to consider to integrate them in the building architecture.

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India: National Housing Bank Grants Subsidised Loans

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 2, 2014
SWH IndiaOn 31 March 2014, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the National Housing Bank (NHB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide subsidies for private households when they purchase solar water heating and solar lighting equipment. The beneficiaries can only receive funding for equipment approved by the MNRE. 30 % of the benchmark costs of solar thermal systems (40 % in Special Category States) are covered by the grant, as in the federal state programme of the National Solar Mission (see database of incentive programmes). The grant is capped at a maximum capacity of 500 litres per day and house. The NHB scheme will run until December 2015. 
Photo: Malaviya Solar Energy Consultancy
 
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European Solar Days: Raising Awareness in Eastern European Countries

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 1, 2014
The European Solar Days, Europe’s largest solar energy grassroots movement, is growing fast throughout Europe, with events expected to attract more than 700,000 participants. The Europe-wide campaign is promoting the use of solar energy for the production of electricity, heating and cooling. Between Thursday, 1 May, and Sunday, 18 May, solar energy supporters – from citizens to industry stakeholders and from lobbyists to politicians – will come together for celebrations, educational activities, demonstrations and other events.
 
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Austria: “Unlock the power of your ideas”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 29, 2014
Sunlumo“Solar heat is a must-have” is one of eight theses which a group of solar thermal experts developed during the First International Solar Forum in the Austrian town of Bad Aussee at the beginning of April. Initiator of the two-and-a-half-day workshop was Austrian company Sunlumo, a service provider of research and development in the solar thermal sector. Sunlumo gathered a selected group of 16 German-speaking experts from inside and outside the solar thermal sector, among them researchers, engineers, marketing and sales strategists, association representatives, designers, inventors and philosophers. The aim of this meeting was to brainstorm “revolutionary new guidelines that would serve as a wake-up call for stakeholders and the public,” Sunlumo’s Managing Director, Robert Buchinger, explains.
Photo: Sunlumo
 
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Portugal: “Good legislation, bad economy”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 28, 2014
ApisolarThe Portuguese solar thermal industry is still facing a difficult time: With 57,234 m² (30 MWth) of newly installed collector area, market volume in 2013 was down to the level of 2007, according to the annual statistics of Apisolar, the Portuguese national solar industry association (see the attached document). The blue bars show the annually installed collector area (left side) and collector capacity (right). The red cubes just illustrate the trend. “Good legislation, bad economy,” is how Apisolar’s Vice President Solar Thermal, Victor Júlio, describes the current situation. The economy is far from recovering, but there is a silver lining on the horizon: A new building legislation that came into force in December 2013 has made the installation of solar water heating systems mandatory for non-residential buildings. 
Source: Apisolar
 
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Developing the Australian Solar Cooling Market: Status Update and Lessons from the Solar Thermal Industry (2013)

Submitted by Chris Heron on April 25, 2014

This report on the development of the solar cooling market, from Jeremy Osborne of Solem Consulting, was presented at the Australian Solar Cooling Conference in Sydney in 2013.

It first provides an overview of the overall Australian solar thermal market and then focuses in particular on solar cooling industry and how it can learn from the solar thermal industry in order to grow its market.

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Lebanon: Solar Thermal Included In Official Vocational Training

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 25, 2014
LebanonAround 50 teachers took part in the Training of Trainers at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Beirut, Lebanon, at the end of March. The three-day course gathered teachers from most of the key institutions of vocational training in Lebanon in order to explain the new teaching material added to the curriculum and to hand over the course handbook, which serves as a guide to what the teachers should teach. The Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) held the workshop in the frame of the Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative, GSWH, which will run out at the end of April 2014. “We included solar thermal lessons in the official curriculum issued by the Lebanese Directorate of Vocational Training (LDEC) at all three levels of vocational training,” Elie Abou Jaoudeh, responsible for the GSWH project at the LCEC, said. 
Photo: LCEC
 
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Solar District Heating: Experiences from Denmark (2014)

Submitted by Chris Heron on April 24, 2014

This presentation, given by Jan Erik Nielsen of PlanEnergy  at an Energy Platform Workshop in Zurich, gives an overview of the solar district heating market in Denmark and its evolution until 2050.  The objective of Denmark is to phase out fossil fuels by 2050 and to only rely on renewable energy for heating and electricity by 2035.

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