Questions and answers about EU projects – Löfbergs and Ankara – related to articles in SvD Börsplus
Was the purpose of these projects to show that SunCool is profitable?
No – and none of the projects were represented, or expected, to be profitable. They were both demonstration projects with the objective to prove the SunCool technology worked in large scale. This was also something the customers were clearly aware of and also agreed. In both projects, the goals were achieved or exceeded in terms of efficiency and performance. See: Link to Löfbergs report (Layman report) and Ankara release.
Why were the projects not profitable (commercially viable)?
The first time you build a system of new, innovative technology, the primary objective is to demonstrate that the technology and solution works as expected. This was also the case with the installations of Löfbergs and Ankara. So, the total cost was significantly higher than a commercial installation. This is partly due to that the prototypes that are being built are done by hand in small volumes, and partly because the system is often equipped with additional equipment – sensors, control systems, etc. otherwise not needed in a commercial system – to collect as much data (knowledge) as possible.
Why does EU finance this type of projects?
To support new “green” technologies such as SunCool so they can be shown to the market and be a reference, which is critical for commercialization – and the transformation to renewable energy. The EU does not finance commercial products. On the other hand, EU only finances projects that have clear potential to become commercially viable. Competition is very hard – less than 5% of applicant projects are approved.
Why did SaltX choose to implement these projects?
With Löfberg and Ankara as successful reference projects for SunCool, SaltX succeeded in attracting a partner in China (NSECT) to invest in low-cost manufacturing. As a result, the cost of SunCool solar collectors could be reduced by four times. Without the EU funding, SaltX would not have had the opportunity to implement these projects, and thus not be where we are today.
When will a SunCool project become profitable?
SunCool is profitable now as the series production in China has begun. The savings vary with the type of building, geographic market (energy prices, local installers, etc.), but for buildings in the southern hemisphere of the segment – hotels and hospitals – it is approximately about 1,000 SEK per year and installed square meters of SunCool solar collectors. The extra investment compared to a traditional solar thermal collector is SEK 2,500 per square meter. This means a 2.5-year payback period, making SunCool commercially viable. This is entirely in accordance with the SaltX development process.
What do customers think about the outcome of these projects?
They are generally satisfied and want to continue using the equipment. See below examples of articles:
What is the status of these projects today?
Löfbergs and SaltX are currently discussing the continuation of the projects in terms of service and maintenance. As for Ankara, the project was just completed and reported, but the plant is still in operation.
When reading your positive press releases of these projects you get the impression that these projects are more commercial than when you are saying now?
We are very proud that both of these projects are successful, and some may interpret that more than we actually communicate. If you read the press releases carefully you see that the projects are demonstration projects, not commercial projects.
SunCool is the world’s first solar thermal collector with integrated energy storage. It absorbs energy from the sun and releases heat and cooling to buildings 24/7.
Link to website
Year of installation: 2014
Number of SunCool panels: 130 (Gen. 1)
Result: COPel at 12.6 (goal was 10)
Link to project
Year of installation: 2016
Number of panels: 50 (Gen. 2)
Result: COPel at 14
Link to project