Advice Notes on Solar Thermal Technology Economics for the NPA Region

Solar Thermal

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/GREBE-Advice-Notes-SOLAR-Thermal.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

ST

Solar thermal systems use solar collectors to absorb energy from the sun and transfer it, using heat exchangers, to heat water. Solar thermal delivers hot water at temperatures of between 55ºC and 65ºC. This is a comparatively mature technology and many installations date back to the 1970s. There are two main types of solar heating collectors:

  • Flat-plate collectors – a sheet of black metal, that absorbs the sun’s energy, encases the collector system. Water is fed through the system in pipes, which conduct the heat to the water.
  • Evacuated tubes – a series of parallel glass heat tubes grouped together. Each tube contains an absorber tube enclosed within a vacuum. Sunlight passing through the outer glass tube heats the absorber tube contained within it, and in doing so, the heat is transferred to a liquid flowing through the tubes.

Evacuated tubes are the most efficient type of solar water collector at around 80% efficiency (compared to around 70% for flat plate collectors). Correspondingly, they also cost more to manufacture; thus, they are more expensive. Modern solar thermal technologies are dependable, efficient and completely safe. Solar thermal technology can have up to 80% efficiency rate in delivering heat to your business.

 

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New scheme encouraging homeowners to install solar panels launched today

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A new scheme encouraging homeowners to install solar panels has been launched this morning. The pilot scheme offers grants for the installation of solar panels and extra funds to install battery storage systems.  Environment Minister Denis Naughten says the scheme will allow people to turn their home into their very own “renewable power station.” He said homeowners can save around €220 in electricity costs every year by taking advantage of the scheme.

Announcing the grants for homeowners, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD said: “Turning your home into a renewable power station is now one step closer. Microgeneration is an incredibly exciting space that will allow citizens in local communities to generate their own electricity and contribute towards Ireland’s climate action targets. With this grant that I am announcing today, a typical 3-bed semi-detached house would spend about €1,800 on a solar panel system and would save approximately €220 per year on their electricity bills.”

The Minister added: “The pilot scheme will be subject to a 6-month review at which time the costs of installation will be assessed and further opportunities to broaden this scheme to other groups and other technologies will be explored.” The scheme will be funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The grant is available for homes built and occupied before 2011 and details of eligibility criteria and how to apply are set out here. A registered solar PV installer must be used and a full list of registered installers is also available on the SEAI website.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/

Hybrid solutions case information from Finland now available!

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A Case video has been published by GREBE partner LUKE on Itikka farm Iisalmi, Finland. The Itikka farm is located in a rural forest and agriculture dominated region very near to the city of Iisalmi in the region of Northern Savo, Finland. Currently energy production plays an important role in the farm´s business. The energy production on the farm includes an own biodiesel production unit, a wind turbine, solar panels and a ground source heat pump.

The Itikka farm is in a private family ownership since the year 1905. The farm has a high annual energy consumption of approximately 150 000 kWh especially high needs for seed processing and drying. The Itikka farm currently employs three external employees with one being employed in the field of energy.

The system is driven by the objective of being self-sufficient by meeting the energy demand of the farm with local resource and moving away from fossil energy. Currently a self-sufficiency of about 50-70% is achieved. Own energy consumption (electricity, heat and fuels) of about 150 MWh, drives own production. The farm has available by-products that can be utilised in bio-oil and briquette production.

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has now published a GREBE video on the Itikka farm hybrid solutions case. The video is available in two language versions, English and Finnish.

Please have a look at the hybrid solution of this farm and check the English version of the case video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWQ3NpsFsc0

The Finnish language version is available under:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BfWx9T-ujA

The GREBE case study report on the Itikka farm can be found under:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Hybrid-Energy-Solutions-Itikan-Tila-Iisalmi-Finland.pdf

More information on the renewable business topic in general can be found from GREBE’s Renewable Business Portal under: http://www.renewablebusiness.eu

Renewable energy investment support, education and tours on farm scale – the Finnish E-farm® concept

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The Finnish GREBE project partners Luke and Karelia UAS visited two E-farm® destinations provided by the Finnish E-farm® service using renewable energy solutions for energy production on a farm scale.

A perfect example for an E-farm® destination is the Itikan tila farm in the region of Northern Savo in Finland. The farm produces agricultural products, provides cultural and tourist services and has an own energy production on the farm including an own biodiesel production unit, a wind turbine, solar panels and a ground source heat pump.

The E-farm® service includes site visits to so-called “E-farm® destinations”, support services in form of calculations, education and training.  E-farm® offers for instance dedicated courses on biogas and wind energy. Also, E-farm® provides detailed investment calculations and support for farmers planning to invest in renewable energy solutions on their farm. By contacting the coordinator of E-farm®, customers can order visits or tours to any of the destinations in Finland, ask for support or other offered services at one contact point. Also tours to Central Europe can be organized. Companies behind the trademark are Envitecpolis Oy and Savon Siemen Oy.

The concept of combining conventional (farm) business with energy production and tourism has been presented in the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) area before, the NPP project REMOTE worked with this idea for example. Besides of the availability of sustainable resources, the Northern Periphery area is unique in regards to the high number of remote dwellings in rural areas, the availability of unique cultural experiences and events for tourists. A large share of buildings has either no access to electricity or is dependent on producing energy from fossil fuels. A focus was to provide feasible solutions for renewable energies in remote areas adapted to the scale of sparsely populated areas and communities by providing information, products and services similar to the E-farm® concept especially dedicated for farms and their customers.

E-farm® has a network of farms across Finland coving a wide range of renewable energy solutions including for example wind mills, small scale CHP units from forest chips, biogas, biodiesel, solar panels, hydro power and ground source heat pump.

In addition to energy sales of renewable energy to the market, visits to the farms provide new business opportunities such as additional income to both the farm and the service and increase the awareness and experiences of energy production investments at farms.

More information on the E-farm® destinations and services offered can be found from the webpage (in Finnish): www.efarm.fi

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