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Newsletter January 2022

Big jumps in SDH plant size in Austria and Serbia

One of Serbia’s pioneers in solar district heating (SDH) is the JKP Grejanje utility, which has been operating a 0.6 MW field of collectors since 2017 (see photo). But that installation is tiny compared to the multi-megawatt solar heat systems envisioned by the latest feasibility studies currently being financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. For example, in September 2021, the Serbian city of Novi Sad decided to start the detailed planning phase for a collector field 70 times larger, at least 45.5 MW including seasonal storage. Most importantly, land is secured already to build the system. It will be put up in a groundwater protection zone, which is off-limits for residential, industrial and agricultural uses. 

A similar jump in plant size can be expected in Austria, where the Climate and Energy Fund is supporting studies on large solar heat systems for a variety of applications. In contrast to the 0.3 MW of average collector area subsidised within 327 projects since 2010, the 10 studies submitted for funding in 2020 average out to 17.4 MW of solar thermal capacity per project.

The experiences in both countries show that financial support for (pre)-feasibilities is important for SDH take-off.

SDH in Serbia
SDH in Austria

Global Solar Certification Network and Solar Heating Initiative join forces
by Bärbel Epp

“Unite for solar heat” is the idea behind a new alliance forged between the Global Solar Certification Network and the Solar Heating Initiative. The overall aim of the new alliance is to provide reliable certification schemes as well as consistent and ready-to-use marketing resources to help popularise high-quality solar thermal collectors.

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Cautious optimism for the coming years in Spain
by Alejandro Diego Rosell

The Spanish residential solar thermal market is showing signs of resurgence. After a decline of 8 % in 2020 due to Covid-19, the market experienced 1 % growth in the first half of 2021. Increasing subsidies suggest an even better outlook for 2022.

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Molten salt: suitable heat-transfer fluid 

In a parabolic trough collector demo plant run by the German Aerospace Center in Évora, Portugal, molten salt is used as a heat-transfer fluid instead of thermal oil. The advantage of molten salt is its stability at higher temperatures. 

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Award recognises outstanding social housing projects

In order to win the IEA SHC Solar Award 2022, the nominees will have to demonstrate that the use of solar thermal in their social housing projects has led to substantial cut of energy consumption and costs.

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