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                                                                                                                                            July 2011 
Table of Contents

USA: High Subsidy Level and Slow Motion in California

China: Fully Integrated Vacuum Tube Production Line Now also at Tsinghua  


Romania: Casa Verde Programme Continues on 1 June  


Finland: In-line Coating Machine for Complete Direct-Flow Absorbers  


Germany: Vacuum Tube Collectors Withstand 40 mm Hailstones

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ESTEC 2011



China jumps forward, while Europe and North America lag behind. This newsletter includes some striking news illustrating this trend. Tsinghua is the fifth Chinese manufacturer to inaugurate an almost fully integrated vacuum tube production line. Indian glass manufacturer Gujarat Borosil, on the other hand, dropped plans for its own vacuum tube production, because the management did not see how the company could compete with the low prices of imported Chinese tubes.


Since the beginning of this year, three Spanish collector manufacturers have abandoned their solar thermal manufacturing due to poor sales. And in the USA, the application rates of the two flagship subsidy schemes in California and New York is increasing slower than anticipated.


Best wishes

The editorial team

USAUSA: High Subsidy Level and Slow Motion in California
by Bärbel Epp

The demand for subsidised solar water heaters is very different in Europe and in the USA. The Czech residential subsidy programme Zelena Usporam (Green Savings) was a great market driver in 2010. Within only 10 months, an incredible number of 47,000 Czech applications had been submitted, of which 27,000 were approved. In California, the picture is very different: within the first 15 months of the CSI - Thermal Program, only 255 projects received approval - 100 times less. Together with the federal tax credits of 30%, the CSI subsidy adds up to around 50% of the investment costs - the same as in the East European country.
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ChinaChina: Fully Integrated Vacuum Tube Production Line Now Also at Tsinghua
by Bärbel Epp

Tsinghua is the fifth Chinese manufacturer to inaugurate an almost fully integrated vacuum tube production line. According to a Tsinghua press release, the new production line in Beijing has an annual capacity of ten million tubes per year - corresponding to a collector gross area of 1.5 million m2. The new production line is 80% automated. All production steps from cleaning the glass tubing, to coating, sealing, evacuating and packaging are performed on one line. The only two manual steps in the production chain: filling the carriers, in which the tubes stand vertically, and sliding the inner into the outer glass tubes after coating.

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tsinghuaRomania: Casa Verde Programme continues on 1 June

by Stephanie Banse

1st June 2011 saw the relaunch of the Romanian subsidy Programme Casa Verde. The programme, originally initiated in 2010, provides financial assistance for the installation of solar collectors, heat pumps or biomass heating systems in residential, governmental, public and religious buildings. 2,000 projects have already received funding since the programme's launch in July 2010. The programme was halted when the available budget of EUR 26 million was reached. In 2011,  EUR 175 million have been made available.

FinlandFinland: In-line Coating Machine for Complete Direct-Flow Absorbers
by Bärbel Epp
A full aluminium direct-flow absorber with a newly developed coating from Finland won one of the three Solar Thermal Intersolar Awards at the Intersolar 2011 in Munich, Germany. The photo shows the respective in-line coating machine by Finnish company Savo-Solar Oy. In cooperation with the Danish Hydro Aluminium Precision Tubing, both companies were able to impress the jury with the new developed Savo-Solar Al-MPE absorber. Research about the technology began three years ago and resulted an in-line coating machine with a capacity of 1 million m2, which can be fed with complete direct-flow absorbers up to a maximum size of 18 m2.
Read more here 
GermanyGermany: Vacuum Tube Collectors Withstand 40 mm Hailstones
by Bärbel Epp

The extra-thick double-glass vacuum tubes by German company Soltark have survived a test with 40 mm hailstones at the Swiss test institute SPF Solartechnik in Rapperswil. A systematic investigation of vacuum tubes at SPF Rapperswil two years ago showed that most of the 26 tested vacuum tube collectors were damaged after several hits with 35 mm hailstones. In large parts of Switzerland, however, hail with a thickness of 30 mm must be expected at least once in 50 years. More and more Swiss building insurers are adopting rules for the hail resistance of solar collectors, which the owners hope to incorporate into already existing insurance contracts.