Austria’s Climate and Energy Fund wins for large-scale solar thermal plant subsidy program
Abu Dhabi, UAE – The Climate and Energy Fund of Austria wins the International Energy Agency Solar Heating Programme (IEA SHC) SHC SOLAR AWARD. The Climate and Energy Fund challenged how subsidies are implemented. Its national support program for large-scale solar thermal plants in commercial applications is based on a 3-pronged approach – financial and technical support, quality assurance and communication. Mr. Ingmar Höbarth, Managing Director, received the award on behalf of the Climate and Energy Fund during SHC 2017, the IEA SHC’s International Conference on Solar Heating and Cooling for Buildings and Industry held this year in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
“This year’s SHC Solar Award shines a light on a successful government solar thermal support scheme. The recipient, Climate and Energy Fund, understands the potential of large-scale solar plants for Austria’s economy and has created an innovative subsidy program to support market expansion of large-scale solar thermal systems”, IEA SHC Chairman Ken Guthrie.
The IEA SHC Solar Award is given to an individual, company, or private/public institution that has shown outstanding leadership or achievements in the field of solar heating and cooling. With this year’s award, the IEA SHC recognizes not only a government agency implementing a successful support scheme, but also a best practice for future policies in other countries. Managing Director Ingmar Höbarth, “We are very proud that with this award IEA SHC is endorsing our support scheme. We are convinced that as a result even more companies will now opt for solar thermal technology and further countries will promote the thermal energy transition with similar support policies.”
From left to right: Werner Weiss (IEA SHC Austria rep.), Ken Guthrie (IEA SHC Chairman), Ingmar Höbarth (Climate and Energy Fund Managing Director), Gernot Wörther (Climate and Energy Fund Project Manager), Doug McClenahan (IEA SHC Award Chairman)
Impact of Support Program
Since the 2010 launch of the subsidy program “large-scale solar thermal plants in commercial applications”, 161 large-scale solar thermal plants have been built for commercial applications. In total, these projects account for 60,061m² of collectors (or about 42 MWth) and annually prevent the emission of 8,426 tons of CO2. The Climate and Energy Funds’ subsidy budget is about 16.5 million Euros, resulting in an average subsidy of 39% per system. To better understand the operational behavior of the heat supply systems, 88 projects were selected for system monitoring for at least one year of operation and data collected on the solar thermal system as well as on the integration of and interaction with the overall heat supply system. At this time, 37 projects have completed their monitoring, 13 projects are being monitored, and 38 projects are in the design and construction phase. The lessons learned thus far not only benefit the solar thermal industry as a whole but also the individual system owners since the detailed system analysis helps them to identify, where possible, optimization potentials.
This subsidy program demonstrates that an innovative, multi-layered approach to support large-scale solar thermal plants for industry, district heating and cooling, and commercial buildings can support the market development of a technology with significant economic and energy potential. And as it is strongly linked to the key stakeholders, the widespread acceptance and success of the program will hopefully lead to its continued government support in the years to come.
About the International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC)
IEA SHC was established in 1977. Its objectives are co-operative research, development, demonstration and exchange of information regarding solar heating and cooling systems. Twenty-one countries, the European Commission and five international organizations are IEA SHC members. Additional information: www.iea-shc.org
About the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund
The Austrian Climate and Energy Fund was brought to life in 2007 by the federal government and is understood to be an impulse giver and innovation booster for sustainable energy and mobility technologies relevant to the climate. The Fund supports ideas, concepts and projects in the areas of research and development, market penetration and raising awareness.