THE WORLD’S LARGEST EXHIBITION FOR THE SOLAR INDUSTRY
Intersolar Europe becomes the new platform for the energy transition in the heating and electricity market.
Renewable Heating at Intersolar Europe 2014
The world’s largest exhibition for the solar industry and its partners is intensifying its support of the energy transition within the heating sector by expanding its spectrum of topics. The range of information showcased at Intersolar Europe was previously divided into the areas of photovoltaics,PV production technologies, energy storage and solar thermal technologies.
The field of solar heat generation is being extended from 2014 to include other renewable heating systems, such as wood-chip and pellet heating systems, mini combined heat and power plants, cogeneration systems and heat pumps. The new area of focus of renewable heating is set to be complemented by a three-day forum on the topic in hall C4 of the exhibition center.
With its wider range of technical topics, Intersolar Europe aims to reflect market developments even more closely and highlight future trends, thus presenting complete solutions for heating, which take climate protection and the finite nature of resources more into account. In this way, Intersolar Europe mirrors visitors’ demands and the products offered by exhibitors, particularly in the areas of energy consulting, planning, installation and maintenance.
The signals for change within the heating market look set to green! The prices of fossil energy sources are constantly on the rise, and technologies such as heat pumps and pellet heating systems have gained a foothold in the market of smaller residential buildings. The revised version of the European Directive on Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (NZEB) passed in May 2011 requires new buildings to have greatly reduced levels of energy consumption, which should be at “nearly zero”, from 2020. This can only be attained by combining very low demand with efficient, renewable energy generation in the buildings. From 2015, the new EU Regulation on eco-design requirements for water heaters and hot water storage tanks – in short, energy labeling – will provide additional triggers for growth in the renewable heating systems market. All products in the sector will have to fulfill the minimum requirements laid down in the Regulation and bear an energy label from 2015. In this way, the energy efficiency classes of various heating systems will be more transparent for the consumer. The solar thermal sector will benefit from this, as only solar water heaters are able to earn the highest label, A+++.
Special requirements for existing buildings
New builds only make up a small proportion of the buildings in Europe. They are far outnumbered by existing buildings – even in the context of building activities. Older buildings are constantly being refurbished, extended and renovated. In fact, new builds only accounted for 25% of all construction work in Germany in 2011. The possibilities for optimally integrating solar thermal technology into existing buildings are limited. For instance, if the nature of the location only allows for the drinking water to be heated by solar energy, intelligent complete solutions are often required for the heating system, which are tailored to the specific building and optimally integrate other generators and systems in addition to solar thermal technology. Highly diverse combinations of solar thermal technology, wood-chip or pellet heating systems, mini combined heat and power plants, cogeneration systems and many more are therefore possible. Even electrical heating systems such as heat pumps, accessories such as outside air heat exchangers and technologies for using geothermal heat must be considered in order to achieve optimal renewable heat generation.
To this end, heat generation, storage, distribution and transfer, as well as heating regulators, must be considered together as an overall system and proportioned correctly. Planning a heating system based on renewable energy therefore requires a comprehensive knowledge of the various technologies available and the best ways of combining them. By visiting Intersolar Europe, architects, energy consultants, installers and planners can benefit in future from a comprehensive overview of all the available systems.
Organic development of the areas on show
In 2012, only 10.4% of the heat generated in Germany was produced using renewable energy – a proportion that is only growing slowly. There are numerous incentive schemes and subsidies for heating with renewable energy, such as the market incentive program for this technology from the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA). It is also possible to receive funding for mini combined heat and power plants from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment under the guidelines on the promotion of CHP plants. KfW Bankengruppe also provides loans and subsidies for the modernization of heating systems.
By extending its areas of focus, Intersolar Europe aims to contribute to propelling the energy transition within the heating market. In recent years, Intersolar Europe has repeatedly pointed the way for renewable heating and showcased trends with initiatives such as the Solarhaus 50+ special exhibit or the Solar Thermal Roadmap in cooperation with the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar). From the organizers’ point of view, extending the range on offer is the next logical step towards achieving the goal of using 100% renewable energy to generate not only electricity but also heat in private households, commerce, industry and municipalities.