1339604454_Articulo_Sun___Win_Energy by gstec


									Solar thermal            mexico

  Little progress with
  a little help
  In Mexico, solar thermal energy is making only slow            olar thermal installations for water heating
                                                                 have a long tradition in Mexico. A report from
  progress. Impulses are coming from abroad, but these           the National Commission for Energy Saving
                                                         (Comisión Nacional para el Ahorro de Energía) says:
  are not always to the advantage of the domestic        “The first modern applications of renewable energies
  manufacturers.                                         in Mexico date back to the 1940s, when the first do-
                                                         mestically manufactured solar collectors were made
                                                         in the State of Jalisco.” The solar thermal manufac-
                                                         turers that are active on the market today include
                                                         several companies that look back on decades of expe-
                                                         rience. One of them is Módulo Solar, one of the

  72                                                                                       Sun & Wind Energy 3/2011

                                                             Solar thermal leader in Mexico
                                                             Módulo Solar is the biggest solar thermal manufacturer in
                                                             Mexico. The company has more than 35 years of experience
                                                             in the production of solar equipment. All collectors from
                                                             its high-tech fabrication fullfill the standards of EN-12975.
                                                             Furthermore the company‘s quality management is certified
                                                             to ISO 9001:2008 standard.
                                                               Company                      Módulo Solar SA de CV
                                                               CEO                          Daniel Garcia Valladares
                                                               Number of employees          121
                                                               Year of beginning
                                                               solar thermal                1975
                                                               Products available in        Mexico, Spain, Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador,
                                                                                            Argentina, Chile, USA
                                                               Product range                flat-plate collectors, solar tanks, solar sets,
                                                                                            controllers, solar equipment
                                                               Service portfolio            solar installation planning, engineering, installation,
                                                                                            maintenance, training and courses

                                                                                                                                     Módulo Solar SA de CV
                                                                                                                                        Av. Atlacomulco 136
                                                                                                                                         Col. Acapantzingo.
                                                                                                                                      Cuernavaca, Morelos
                                                                                                                                   Phone +52 777 318 0104
                                                                                                                                      Fax +52 777 318 0105
                                                               Large installation with flat-plate collectors by
                                                               Módulo Solar                                                      www.modulosolar.com.mx

Flat plate collectors from Módulo Solar on a hotel in
Acapulco                               Photo: Módulo Solar

country’s leading producers of solar collectors and
storage tanks. The company, which has its headquar-
ters in Cuernavaca, was established in 1975. It is ac-
tive in production, distribution, import and export
and has a staff of 124 at present. Since the year of its
foundation, Módulo Solar has installed a collector
area of more than 320,000 m2.
    Another Mexican solar pioneer is Sunway de
México, also a manufacturer of flat plate collectors
and tanks. “The first panels were manufactured in
1978”, says the owner Jorge Dávila Garza. In 1980,

Sun & Wind Energy 3/2011                                                                                                                              73
Solar thermal                                                          mexico

                Market development in Mexico



                                                                                                                              pool absorbers
                  Newly installed collector area [m2]
                                     Newly installed collector area [m²]
                                                                                                                              flate plate collectors
                                                                                                                              flat platecollectors





                                                                                       1999   2000
                                                                                               2000   2001
                                                                                                       2001   2002
                                                                                                               2002   2003
                                                                                                                       2003        2004
                                                                                                                                    2004        2005
                                                                                                                                                 2005   2006
                                                                                                                                                         2006      2007
                                                                                                                                                                    2007       2008

                Whilst the sales of pool absorbers are stagnating, those of flat plate collectors have been growing vigorous­
                ly since 2004. Until 2008, vacuum tubes did not play a significant role on the Mexican market. In 2009, a
                collector area of around 1.4 million m2 was installed in Mexico. Last year, another 200,000 to 300,000 m2
                were added.                                                            Source: Solar Heat Worldwide, AEE Intec, various editions

                he officially founded the company, the headquarters                                                    Steady growth
                of which is in Mexico City.
                     The company Bufete de Tecnología Solar S.A.                                                       In recent years, the Mexican solar thermal market has
                (Butecsa) also looks back on a long tradition. Last                                                    grown at moderate rates but constantly. According to
                year it celebrated its 30th anniversary. “Butecsa was                                                  the Mexican National Association of Solar Energy
                initially founded as an engineering firm in 1980”, re-                                                 (ANES), a total of 447,704 m2 of solar collectors were
                ports the President Rodolfo Martínez-Strevel. “We                                                      installed in Mexico ten years ago. The statistics in-
                have trained Mexican installers and designed flat                                                      cludes flat plate and tube collectors as well as pool
                plate solar collectors for other Mexican companies.”                                                   absorbers. By 2009, the collector area had tripled
                In the meantime, Butecsa has restructured its activi-                                                  since 2001, reaching 1,392,921 m2.
                ties. From Mexico City, 12 members of staff now dis-                                                        The industry association ANES was established in
                tribute flat plate and tube collectors, pool absorbers,                                                1980 at the fourth National Solar Energy Assembly
                tanks and other components for thermosiphonic and                                                      (Reunión Nacional de Energía Solar). “ANES has about
                pumped systems.                                                                                        600 members. I would say that not more than 20 are
                     Until just a few years ago, swimming pool absorb-                                                 from the solar thermal industry”, says ANES President
                ers dominated the solar thermal market in Mexico.                                                      Vicente Estrada-Cajigal. “There might be some others
                According to the report “Mexico Solar Installations by                                                 but they do not participate in ANES. Usually these are
                Type” for the years 2007/2008, at that time 78 % of                                                    small companies that manufacture to sell on the local
                the solar thermal installations were pool absorbers.                                                   market.”
                Among the systems for water heating, thermosiphon-                                                          Well-known solar thermal companies apart from
                ic systems still dominate. “The biggest market is for                                                  those mentioned earlier include the collector manu-
                individual thermosiphonic systems of about 150 litres                                                  facturer Captasol S.A. de C.V. in Celaya/Guanajuato
                with flat plate or vacuum tube collectors”, notes                                                      as well as Instalaciones Técnicas Especializadas S.A.
                Daniel García Valladares of Módulo Solar. For pumped                                                   in Mexico D.F. and Kioto Clear Energy S.A. de C.V. in El
                systems, which are now being installed more and                                                        Salto, Guadalajara. Kioto is a subsidiary of the Austri-
                more frequently in Mexico, three to five collectors in                                                 an company Kioto Clear Energy AG from St.Veit/Glan.
                combination with tanks ranging from 300 to                                                             The Mexican office was established in 2009. Kioto
                1,000 litres are common.                                                                               produces flat plate collectors and laser-welded

  74                                                                                                                                                            Sun & Wind Energy 3/2011
Solar thermal                          mexico

                                                                                                has generated alliances and new investments in in-
                                                                                                frastructure and cutting-edge technology.” Garage
                                                                                                companies cannot compete with this.

                                                                                                Export is becoming more
                                                                                                Sales abroad are currently gaining in importance.
                                                                                                When asked whether export was getting more im-
                                                                                                portant, Marlon Rechberger, the Director of Sales
                                                                                                and Marketing at Kioto Clear Energy in Mexico,
                                                                                                answered “Absolutely yes.” Kioto Mexico already
                                                                                                supplies customers in the USA, in the Caribbean, in
                                                                                                Guatemala, Costa Rica, Columbia, Chile, Uruguay
                                                                                                and Brazil. Módulo Solar also has customers in
                                                                                                various countries on the American continent:
                                                                                                Guatemala, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile.
  Since 2006, a building regulation in Mexico City has specified that the operators of          In Europe, the company delivers to Spain. Butecsa
  public pools, hotels, sports clubs, restaurants, laundries, hospitals und industrial          supplies Mexico and other Central American coun-
  sites have to cover at least 30 % of their annual energy consumption using solar              tries. “Export is growing”, confirms Martinez-
  water heaters.                                                    Photo: Sunway de México     Strevel. “At the present time it is 8 %”, he said at
                                                                                                the beginning of the year. “But we estimate it will
                                                                                                be 15 % this year.”
                                  absorbers. Furthermore, the company with its 30
                                  members of staff sells thermosiphonic and pumped              Building obligation in Mexico City
                                  systems. In the pool absorber sector, Heliocol de
                                  México has made a name for itself. This company               There are lots of reasons for the market growth of the
                                  sells solar pool heating systems from its US-based            recent years. “I would say it is a mix of many things”,
                                  parent company Heliocol.                                      says Estrada-Cajigal of ANES. He specifies the
                                      There are also the so-called garage companies in          “Mexico City norm” as one of the driving forces. In
                                  Mexico, i.e. very small enterprises that produce sys-         2006, the Federal District Government, which is re-
                                  tems of inferior quality and sell them at extremely low       sponsible for the country’s capital, passed a new en-
                                  prices. Daniel García Valladares, the Commercial              vironmental law. It obliges the operators of public
                                  Manager at Módulo Solar, estimates their market               pools, hotels, sports clubs, restaurants, laundries,
                                  share to be 15 to 20 %. But none of the consulted             hospitals and industrial sites to cover at least 30 % of
                                  manufacturers and distributors feels particularly             their annual energy consumption using solar water
                                  threatened by these companies. Rodolfo Martínez-              heaters. The regulation also applies to new buildings
                                  Strevel of Butecsa says: “The aggressive competition          and to complete renovations. “At first it was difficult
                                                                                                to implement this law but now satisfactory results
                                                                                                have been achieved”, says Martinez-Strevel of
                                                                                                Butecsa, summarizing the development. The building
                                                                                                obligation is certainly one of the reasons why more
                                                                                                large systems are installed in hospitals, sports clubs,
                                                                                                hotels and industrial plants. They range from 100 to
                                                                                                2,000 m2 in size.
                                                                                                     It is easy to imagine that such a building regula-
                                                                                                tion, especially in a mega-city, leads to a rising collec-
                                                                                                tor area. According to the State of World Population
                                                                                                Report 2007 of the UNFPA, the United Nations Popu-
                                                                                                lation Fund, founded in 1969, Mexico City with its
                                                                                                19.2 million residents is the second largest city in the
                                                                                                world after Tokyo. “The law should be adopted in oth-
                                                                                                er Mexican states”, wishes ANES President Estrada-
                                                                                                Cajigal. He thus welcomes the fact that the states of
                                                                                                Sonora and Chihuahua, both located on the boarder
                                                                                                with the USA, have passed their own renewable ener-
                                                                                                gy state laws. Together with Baja California, these
                                                                                                two states have the highest solar irradiation levels in
                                                                                                     “The new energy law has had an impact too”,
                                                                                                says Estrada-Cajigal, pointing to the renewable ener-
  Solar system for a hotel in Puebla                                           Photo: Butecsa   gy act that was passed in Mexico in 2008. It does not

  76                                                                                                                                 Sun & Wind Energy 3/2011
Solar thermal                       mexico

                               Antitheft device: in general, a solar water heater can be stolen from a roof fairly easily – but not in this case.
                                                                                                                                        Photo: Rotoplas

                             specify a target for solar thermal energy, in contrast        This means that 1.8 million m2 of solar collectors will
                             to the power generation from renewable energies,              be installed by then for industrial processes, build-
                             but it gave rise to the Green Mortgage Programme              ings and low-income housing. In the context of
                             (Hipoteca Verde), which stimulates the demand for             Procalsol, project partners such as GIZ Mexico work
                             solar collectors. The green mortgage consists of an           on possible regulations and on quality standards, on
                             additional, particularly cheap credit, which is granted       filling information gaps and on the qualification of
                                              to citizens with a low income if they        specialist staff. The programme does not provide any
                                              invest in green technologies such as         financial incentives.
                                              solar installations when they pur-

                                                                                           Imports from China

                                              chase an apartment.
                                                   The Green Mortgage Programme

                                              also comprises the programme                 The Mexicans are less pleased about the influence

                                              “25,000 Solar Roofs for Mexico” of           from another direction – from Asia. ANES President

                                              the German governmental develop-             Estrada-Cajigal says: “The cheaper Chinese prod-
                                              ment aid organization GIZ (German            ucts certainly have had an effect on market penetra-

                                              Agency for International Coopera-            tion”, which means that they have at least helped to

                                              tion), which is designed based on            raise the installed collector area in Mexico. But the

                                              the model of the German market in-           manufacturers regard the imports of Chinese vacu-

           BlackSelect                        centive programme (see also the
                                              article “ Solar energy for the less
                                                                                           um tube collectors, which are often cheaper, as
                                                                                           problematic. “Chinese companies selling vacuum
        Best over-all efficiency              privileged” on page 108).                    tube collectors are a problem”, confirms Valladares
                                                   “GIZ is supporting and helping a        of Módulo Solar and regrets that: “The Mexican gov-
       Best durability
                                              lot to get more quality and European         ernment does not have strong regulations or certifi-
      Best corrosion resistance               standards”, says Marlon Rechberger           cations, and it is very easy to introduce a product to
     Best thermal stability                   of Kioto, welcoming the commitment           the market regardless of its quality or efficiency.”
                                              of the Germans in Mexico. The GIZ            Jorge Dávila Garza of Sunway de México takes a sim-
                                              team is also active in the Programme         ilar view: “Of course it is a problem”, he agrees.
   ChromeCoat A/S                             to Promote Solar Water Heating in            “But we have managed to fight back because of our
   Danmarksvej 8
                                              Mexico (Procalsol). In August 2007,          technological advances and our better prices, and
   DK-4681 Herfølge · Denmark                 the Mexican National Commission              most importantly, happy clients keep recommend-
   Phone: +45 56 27 66 50
                                              for Efficient Energy Use (CONUEE)            ing us.”
   Fax:    +45 56 27 66 24                    published the key figures of this na-
                                              tional scheme for promoting solar            New association: FAMERAC
   www.chromecoat.dk                          thermal energy. Its aim is the long-
                                              term development of the market. In           Salvador Steffani no longer wants to stand by and
   COATING FOR SOLAR ABSORBER FINS            concrete terms, the goal is to triple        watch the development. He has been active in the so-
                                              the installed collector area by 2012.        lar thermal sector since 1976 and is the founder and

  78                                                                                                                           Sun & Wind Energy 3/2011
Solar thermal                              mexico

                                                                                                 confirms Estrada-Cajigal and continues: “But at the
                                                                                                 same time it is recognized that in an open and free
                                                                                                 market as in Mexico, it would be almost impossible to
                                                                                                 avoid the commercialization of foreign technologies.
                                                                                                 We do believe that there is room and niche markets
                                                                                                 for all technologies.”
                                                                                                      Dávila Garza of Sunway de México agrees: “I think
                                                                                                 it is a very good purpose to stop imports, but I per-
                                                                                                 sonally think it is an impossible task due to globaliza-
                                                                                                 tion.” Valladares of Módulo Solar regards it as “very
                                                                                                 important to develop and protect the interests of the
                                                                                                 Mexican solar manufacturers.” Therefore he supports
                                                                                                 FAMERAC as well as ANES. Kioto is not an official
                                                                                                 member yet. “We support FAMERAC indirectly”, says
                                                                                                 Kioto’s Director of Sales and Marketing Marlon
                                                                                                 Rechberger. “Our customers are members as well as
                                                                                                 our Mexican thermosiphonic tank supplier.” Butecsa
                                                                                                 is a founding member of ANES, reports Martínez-
                                                                                                 Strevel, who remains faithful to his association, the
                                                                                                 merits of which he appreciates: “ANES has promoted
                                                                                                 the creation of Mexican standards and a reliable cer-
  Pumped systems and                  General Director of the collector manufacturer             tification system.”
  flat plate collectors are           Captasol. Steffani is committed to defending the
  gaining market share in             interests of the local manufacturers. To this end,         Quality is gaining in importance
  Mexico.                             Captasol together with 15 other manufacturers has
          Photo: Kioto Clear Energy   founded FAMERAC (Fabricantes Mexicanos de Energía          The quality of solar thermal systems and their in-
                                      Renovable). The association’s initiator Steffani is also   stallation is increasingly becoming a topic in
                                      its President.                                             Mexico. There are four standards, which cover ther-
                                           The aim is to establish high standards and a reli-    mal efficiency, nomenclature, equipment specifica-
                                      able certification system in order to protect the mar-     tions and installation (NORMEX), but their observ-
                                      ket from being flooded by cheap products from China        ance is voluntary. “Some federal and state pro-
                                      and other countries. According to Steffani, there are      grammes require the NORMEX thermal efficiency
                                      more than 80 importers of vacuum tube collectors in        certificate to be adopted by solar collector suppli-
                                      Mexico.                                                    ers, but the next step is to make it mandatory
                                           In the industry, the activities of FAMERAC have       throughout the country for national manufacturers
                                      met with a mixed response. ANES President Estrada-         and importers”, commented Martínez-Strevel of
                                      Cajigal, who Steffani seemingly does not think cap-        Butecsa. If a manufacturer wants to prove the qual-
                                      able of sufficiently representing the interests of the     ity of his products, he has them tested and certi-
                                      solar thermal industry, reacts calmly. “We do cooper-      fied according to NORMEX and sometimes also
                                      ate and work together in understanding the need for        according to the international collector standard
                                      improving the quality and having higher standards”,        EN-12975.

  Unglazed collectors: until
  2008, over 70 % of the
  solar thermal installa­
  tions in Mexico were pool
              Photo: Módulo Solar

  80                                                                                                                                Sun & Wind Energy 3/2011
ANES President Vicente Estrada­Cajigal. The national
solar energy association ANES has around 600
members, including about 20 from the solar thermal
                                                Photo: ANES

     Training for installers is also not yet obligatory in
Mexico, and far from being common everywhere. The
topic the Mexican installers know most about is ther-
mosiphonic systems, but there is still a great deficit
in the case of pumped systems and vacuum tube col-
lectors. Therefore, companies such as Módulo Solar
and Kioto offer training sessions. “We train especial-
ly for European-style pumped large-scale applica-
tions”, says Marlon Rechberger of Kioto Clear Energy.
Regarding the quality of the installations, he notes
that a “wide range” can be observed. “Some are good
but sometimes you cannot trust your eyes.” He gives
an example to illustrate this.
     “The systems in Mexico are usually open, with di-
rect flow. The collectors are designed to allow the ab-
sorber to be taken out”, says the Marketing Director.
“Installers offer the service of cleaning the lime scale
out of the absorber after a certain time. How? They
take the absorber out of the collector and ‘clean’ the
tubes on the inside using a drilling machine with an
attachment.” That may be creative, but it is certainly
not beneficial to absorber efficiency.
     This shows that there is still quite a lot to do in
Mexico in order to make the solar thermal market
flourish. The market certainly needs competence from
abroad. As Rechberger says, the country lacks manu-
facturers of closed systems and of tanks ranging from
300 to 1,000 litres in volume. “There is a shortage in
the whole of Central America”, he says. Some produc-
ers of glass and insulation material would also be
useful. Whether or not collector manufacturers from
Europe or the US or even more manufacturers from
Asia should enter the market certainly depends on
the perspective of the observer. If the country was to
fully utilize its potential for solar thermal energy,
there would probably be enough to do for hundreds
of manufacturers.
                                                Ina Röpcke

Sun & Wind Energy 3/2011

To top