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Solar thermal energy in Austria

General
Renewable energy policy in Austria exists on three levels: the Federal level, the regional level of the provinces (Bundesländer) and the local level of municipalities. Important contributions from renewable energy sources regard large hydropower for electricity, biomass for heat and power and solar thermal installations. On the Federal level the programme klima:aktiv (started 2004 by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management) aims at reducing CO2-emission and increasing the penetration of renewable energy sources. Regarding renewables, focus is on biogas and biomass, solar thermal and heat pumps. Typical for the Austrian programmes is that they are easily accessible through the internet and through telephone hotlines. With the decision of the Green Electricity Act 2009 of 23 September 2009 in the National Council (confirmed October 8, 2009 in the Bundesrat) essential contents of the second Ökostromgesetz of 2008 entered into force. The decision of Parliament had become necessary because of concerns of the European Commission regarding the cost cap for energy intensive industry (Ökostromkostendeckelung) , which will therefore not enter into force.

The following changes can be observed:

According to the Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources the target for the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy in the year 2020 for Austria is 34% (in the year 2005 the share was 23.3%). The Directive has a mandatory 10 % target for transport to be achieved by all Member States, which refers to renewable sources as a whole, not biofuels alone.

Renewable energy projections according to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan for Austria
The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) for Austria was submitted in July 2010. The target according to Annex I of Directive 2009/28/EC is 34% for the year 2020 and the projected NREAP share in that year is 34.2%.  According to the projection, the most important contribution in the year 2020 is expected from hydropower (42.1 TWh or 3621 ktoe, 39% of all renewable energy). Second important contribution is expected from biomass (renewable heating and cooling) (3607 ktoe, 39% of all renewable energy). The third largest contribution is from biomass (renewable electricity) (5.1 TWh or 443 ktoe, 5% of all renewable energy). Onshore wind power contributes with 2.6 GW (4.8 TWh) in the year 2020. For solar photovoltaic the 2020 contribution is projected to be 322 MW (306 GWh). For solar thermal the 2020 contribution is projected to be 269 ktoe. The two most important biofuels are projected to contribute 410 ktoe (biodiesel) and 80 ktoe (bioethanol / bio-ETBE) by 2020. The renewable electricity production from solid biomass amounts to 4.5 TWh (390 ktoe) and for biogas it is expected to be 0.6 TWh (50 ktoe). The consumption of renewable heat is expected to amount to 3591 ktoe for solid biomass and 16 ktoe for biogas.
 
Renewable Heating and Cooling: solar thermal

A large spectrum of solar thermal applications are available in Austria, ranging from domestic hot water systems, combisystems, district heating and systems in hotels and the industrial sector.

On the Federal level, the programme Solarwärme, a co-operation between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and the Austrian Solar Industry Association (Austria Solar) provides an easy access to the information regarding solar thermal energy through the web-portal http://www.solarwaerme.at.

In September 2008 the Austrian roadmap for solar thermal energy was presented. The report has been compiled by the solar thermal energy industry. The report indicates that 10% of the Austrian low-temperature demand (below 250°C) can be met by solar thermal energy in the year 2020, up to 25% in 2030 and 40% in 2050.

Austria’s federal government decided to stimulate the solar heating market in the building renovation segment as one of the mechanisms to stimulate overall economic activity. Now householders are being offered 2500 euros to invest in a solar thermal heating system provided that the annual home heating requirement does not exceed 75 kWh per m2. An energy efficiency certificate is a criterion for eligibility. Another condition is that the solar collector surface area must be at least 20 m2. The federal state may award discretionary reductions of up to 2920 euros to the income tax base in specific cases. The federal government awards businesses with subsidies covering up to 40% of the investment costs depending on theenergy efficiency levels of the installation.

On a regional level, the first large solar energy campaign started in 2003 in Carinthia: “Sonnenland Kärnten”. The same region initiated the most recent campaign: “sonnenklar erneuerbar” (spring 2008). Other regions such as Vienna, Salzburg, Lower Austria, Tyrol, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg meanwhile had similar campaigns.

Most recent development is that funding for solar thermal installation is required to apply for the popular Wohnbauförderung (funding for new housing or renovation projects) in the region of Upper Austria (starting with 1.1.2009) and Styria (since 1.6.2006). In practise this means an obligation for solar thermal in the region.

Companies can apply at the Kommunalkredit Public Consulting (KPC) for a 30% investment grant as part of the corporate environment subsidy scheme,

A listing of regional policies is provided below (refers to single family houses only! Different figures apply for multifamily houses and hotels) Note, that often local municipalities provide additional funding for solar thermal. In most provinces, different funding applies, based on the system layout (water heater versus space heating).

Burgenland
Investment subsidies of 30%, up to EUR 1700 (solar water heater) or up to EUR 2500 (solar space heating). Minimal size and storage volume requirements apply. A heat measuring device is obligatory.

Carinthia
Base funding of EUR 1000 (solar water heater) or EUR 1500 (solar space heating). Additional 50 EUR/m2 (flat plate collector) or 70 EUR/m2 (vacuum collector), maximum EUR 5000 or 50% of the investment costs. Minimal size and storage volume requirements apply. In combination with a biomass heater, a heat pump or a heat distribution network an additional EUR 300 is provided.

Lower Austria
The direct investment subsidy was terminated by the end of 2010. For solar thermal systems in new buildings house owners can apply for a loan allowance of maximum EUR 1500.  Minimal size and storage volume requirements apply.

Upper Austria
Base funding of EUR 1100, additional 100 EUR/m2 (flat plate collector) or 140 EUR/m2 (vacuum collector), maximum EUR 3800 or 50% of the investment costs (excluding VAT). Minimal size, storage volume and quality requirements apply: systems without the Solar Keymark certificate receive reduced funding of 75 EUR/m2 (flat plate collector) or 110 EUR/m2 (vacuum collector) for each additional square meter, and the maximum reduces to maximum EUR 3000. A heat measuring device is obligatory. In combination with a biomass heater, a heat pump or a heat distribution network an additional EUR 300 is provided. Local municipalities often provide additional funding for solar thermal in the range of 10% to 50% of the investment costs. For retrofit installations the base funding does not apply.

Salzburg
Base funding of 100 EUR/m2 collector surface (for the first six square meters), then 50 EUR/m2 collector surface (up to 25 square meters), maximum EUR 30% of the investment costs. Additional funding for storage (EUR 500) high efficiency (Hocheffizienzpaket , EUR 600 additional) requirements apply.

Styria
Base funding of 300 EUR plus 50 EUR/m2 for each square meter collector surface, maximum EUR 2000. Additional EUR 500 for space heating. Minimal size requirements apply. All local municipalities often provide additional funding for solar thermal installations.

Tyrol
Base funding of 210 EUR/m2 for each square meter collector surface, maximum EUR 2100 (solar water heater) or EUR 4200 (solar space heating). Water heating only systems are supported up to 10 m2, for larger systems space heating is required. Minimal size and storage volume requirements apply. A heat measuring device is obligatory.

Vorarlberg
Base funding of 1100 EUR plus 75 EUR/m2 for each square meter collector surface, maximum EUR 1900. For space heating additional funding is granted, diversified for the solar coverage in the system: a minimal solar share of 15% results in additional EUR 1500 EUR plus 75 EUR/m2 for each square meter collector surface. A minimal solar share of 20% results in additional EUR 2200 EUR plus 75 EUR/m2 for each square meter collector surface for space heating, maximum EUR 3700. A heat measuring device is obligatory.

Vienna
Base funding of 1000 EUR plus 70 EUR/m2 for each square meter collector surface, maximum 30% of the investment costs. For space heating more funding is available for each square meter collector surface: 100 EUR/m2, maximum 40% of the investment. For solar water heating systems the minimum area is 5 m2. Smaller systems only receive the base funding of 1000 EUR. Minimum size and storage volume requirements apply.

Within the climate and energy fund (Klima- und Energiefonds) Austria Solar has initiated the support programm for large solar thermal systems "Solarthermie - Solare Großanlagen". The programme supports innovative large scale solar thermal systems with a collector area between 100 and 2000m2. The budget was increased to EUR 5 million for 2011 (EUR 2 million in 2010). The scheme targets solar process heat in companies, solar heat fed into local heating grids, solar assisted cooling in combination with water heating systems with a maximum support level of 40% of investment costs. Duration of the application period is  7 April to 1 September 2011.


Future programme changes expected
no future changes expected

 
Sources
Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, http://www.lebensministerium.at (sourced August 2008)

Austria Solar : Overview of  support in Austria for single family houses, http://www.solarwaerme.at/EFH/Foerderungen, (sourced April 2011)

ESTIF 2010: Solar Thermal Markets in Europe, Trends and Market Statistics 2009, June 2010, http://www.estif.org/fileadmin/estif/content/market_data/downloads/2009%20solar_thermal_markets.pdf, (sourced December 2010)

Solarserver, German solar energy portal, http://www.solarserver.de (sourced August 2008)

EurObserv'ER Solar Thermal barometer, June 2009, http://www.eurobserv-er.org/pdf/baro191.asp

EurObserv'ER Solar Thermal barometer, May 2010, http://www.eurobserv-er.org/pdf/baro197.asp

ESTIF 2010: Solar Thermal Markets in Europe, Trends and Market Statistics 2009, June 2010, http://www.estif.org/fileadmin/estif/content/market_data/downloads/2009%20solar_thermal_markets.pdf, (sourced December 2010)

National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) are all published on the Transparency Platform on Renewable Energy: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/renewables/transparency_platform/action_plan_en.htm (sourced July - December 2010)

Renewable Energy Projections as Published in the National Renewable Energy Action Plans of the European Member States, http://www.ecn.nl/nreap (sourced December 2010)

Klimafonds 2011 : Solarthermie - Solare Großanlagen http://www.klimafonds.gv.at/home/foerderguide/details/themenfeld/solarthermie-solare-grossanlagen-1.html


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Last update: April 2010


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The EurObserv'ER barometer is a project supported by the European Commission within the DG TREN 'Intelligent Energy Europe' programme and by Ademe, the French Environment and Energy management Agency. The EurObserv'ER Barometer is the result of the investigation and research work of its authors. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.