SOLTRAIN was very well represented at the International Conference on Solar Energy Technology in Development Cooperation held in Frankfurt, Germany in early November 2014.

SOLTRAIN was very well represented at the International Conference on Solar Energy Technology in Development Cooperation held in Frankfurt, Germany in early November 2014.

Dieter Holm (Regional Coordinator) & Ulrich Averesh (GIZ) reported how the SOLTRAIN Solar Thermal Flagship District of Gauteng, South Africa, was established with the cooperation of GIZ. A handheld GIS instrument is being used to verify the position, orientation, inclination, size and other data of existing installations. This provides a cost-effective monitoring and verification, while also promoting the solar thermal industry an and effective and long-term way.

Helvi Ileka's "Solar Water Heating Vision for Namibia" mentioned that 65% of Namibia's electricity is imported at increasing costs and unreliability. The country has set a target of 175 000 houses by 2030. As water heating normally constitutes 40% of the residential energy consumption, the local SOLTRAIN Partner is interacting with the National Housing Enterprise on choosing SWH in a country blessed with excellent sunshine.

Rudi Moschik of AEE-Intec presented a graphic illustration of the results from remote monitoring of seven solar water-heating installations. In some cases neither the owner nor the installer/designer of the system was aware of sub-optimal or faulty operation. This highlighted the need for proper maintenance training and maintenance contracts.
The insights gained from monitoring were fed into the SOLTRAIN Train-the-Trainer Courses.

Samson Mhlanga & A. Schwarzlmueller illustrated how the SOLTRAIN Solar Trailer, equipped with a thermosyphon system as well as a pumped SWH system, helps to create the much-needed awareness in Zimbabwe. The Solar Trailer can be used for demonstrations at training centres as well as at trade fairs and shows.

Anton Schwarzlmüller (SOLTRAIN Zimbabwe) related the solar thermal history of the country, stressing how solar water heating is helping women. He quoted several independent feedback reports from satisfied stakeholders where the Zimbabwe Partner visited the site to do repair or maintenance work on thermosyphon systems.

Providing feed-back from SOLTRAIN Lesotho, Ivan Yaholnitzky told the story of the Bethel Business and Community Development Centre in the remote mountains of that land-locked country. The Centre not only teaches basic solar skills, but also demonstrates these in the buildings and facilities of the Centre. There is even a solar bakery and a range of box cookers. Solar passive principles like day lighting and solar heating/cooling are integral to the system. Ivan lives on the site and does all the required operation and maintenance (O&M) work.
The contributions by the SOLTRAIN Partners evoked lively and supportive discussions, demonstrating that networking was a much-appreciated core benefit of this conference.

Werner Weiss (AEE-Intec & SOLTRAIN Project Leader) was the Conference Chairman. In his concluding remarks he highlighted the following points:

  • All Renewable Energy Technologies are growing in the developed and the developing countries.
  • Developing countries often have double the sunshine, but require much more initial financing investments. Innovative financing models for projects less than €1M are needed.
  • More and more countries are introducing RE policies, but implementation is lagging.
  • Awareness of Solar Thermal Energy remains problematic.
  • Awareness of PV seems to be easier.
  • Energy Service Companies need a stable policy environment.
  • Quality standards for design, installation and O&M are needed.
  • There is a growing need for ST capacity building.
  • The next Solar Energy Technology in Development Cooperation Conference will be held in the European Autumn of 2016.

As part of the Conference, a trip was undertaken to AEE-Intec at Gleisdorf, Austria, to inspect the Solar AC system and the solar-biomass district heating FWG. After the SOLTRAIN steering committee meeting on the following day, there were visits to Ökotech, SOLID and large-scale ST systems in Graz, as well as façade integrated systems. In Vienna, ADA and OFID were visited to discuss the results of the Mid-term Review.

The sponsorship of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is gratefully acknowledged.