Home > Publications > Solar energy for the production of heat Summary and recommendations of the 4th assembly of the energy forum at SNI
Solar energy for the production of heat Summary and recommendations of the 4th assembly of the energy forum at SNI
Gershon Grossman, Ofira Ayalon, Yifaat Baron, Debby Kaufman, 2007
The present meeting of the Energy Forum was devoted to the subject of using solar energy for producing heat. This field holds great potential for Israel and for many other nations worldwide.
The meeting was held at the Samuel Neaman Institute at the Technion on January 24th 2007. Over twenty experts from industry, academia, governmental departments and the public sector participated. The Forum participants were selected with great care for their thematic expertise and have formed, undoubtedly, a unique group of first-rate professionals in the energy field in general, and in the use of solar heat, in particular.
During the first part of the meeting several participants presented information on worldwide and Israeli activities in the use of solar energy for the production of heat, discussing technological and economic considerations along with incentives offered by different nations to encourage the use of solar heat. A complete record of the presentations can be found here.
During the second part of the meeting the participants engaged in an open discussion regarding the issues presented and the operative conclusions that could be derived from them.
This brief synopsis provides highlights of the ‘Summary and Conclusions’ chapter from the full report (in Hebrew). The goal is to present these recommendations to decision makers and create the momentum for placing the State of Israel in the forefront of nations developing and using “green” energy systems. Forum participants were in complete agreement about the need for public awareness campaigns, hoping that they will serve as a “call for action” to regulators and government legislators.
When examining the possibility of supplying these energy demands from renewable sources, particularly solar energy, it is evident that the transportation sector would be the hardest to supply, followed by the electricity sector that utilizes a known, but expensive to produce, technology. Heat production, especially in low range temperature for domestic, institutional and industrial use, appears to benefit most from renewable sources, mainly from solar energy.
In practice, despite the availability of sunlight in Israel, the use of solar energy to produce heat, amounts to only one tenth of its potential and is utilized mostly for heating water at private dwellings.
It is important to indicate that this regulation also obligates hospitals, elderly citizens' homes, hotels, dormitories, and educational institutions to comply. However, while local planning and construction committees enforce the regulation on private dwellings, there is no enforcement mechanism directed towards commercial and public institutions. There is no reference in the law to the industrial sector, which consumes process heatfor producing hot water or steam (some in relatively low temperature).
While private consumers make abundant use of solar energy, there is hardly any use of it in the industrial sector, despite the fact that this sector is much more suitable for using solar heat. It should be noted that since the industry is mostly active during the day the need to store heat is reduced; also, industrial buildings usually have large roof areas free of shadowing thus an ideal location for installation of solar systems. Economy of Scale must also be noted. Selling one solar system to industry is equal to selling a hundred domestics systems to individual consumers. And last but not least, industry is well equipped to provide on-going maintenance to installed systems while the private consumer is not.
As can be seen, it is possible to further lower the cost of solar thermal industrial systemsfor most of the business sector Yet, there is still only marginal use of solar heat systems in industry when compared with the domestic sector.One reason for that is, without a doubt, the Israeli tax system. A private consumer, who uses a sun-heated water tank, saves his/her out of pocket electricity expense while the business consumer saves on his taxed expense. Combusting polluting fuels to produce heat is considered a deductible business expense, but investing in a solar thermal system will be amortized (and deducted) over a ten year schedule, making the return on investment not economic.
The aim of this forum meeting was to identify the regulatory, economic and information obstacles that delay the use of solar thermal hot water systems in the public and business sectors.
Summary and Conclusions
All the experts agreed that this is the right timing for establishing a solar power station and we are asking the government and the Minister of National Infrastructure, Mr. Paritzki, to lead the issue. We will help by legislation as much as possible, in order to establish a solar power station and reconsider the use of coal in order to have a cleaner future”.
Today, three years after this discussion, the beginning of a change can be seen- the Public Utility Authority – Electricity sets premium for the clean energy producers. Aside from this there is no substantial change and Israel loses her leadership position in the use of solar energy.