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Sun + energy efficiency = savings and comfort

In the near future, solar energy can become a real alternative to traditional energy sources. This is the conclusion made by participants of the round table "Switch on the sun - live comfortably! Restyling Energy in Southern Urals," which took place in Chelyabinsk and was dated for the World Energy Saving Day.

"Will solar become really popular? How to create demand for solar energy? Does solar energy have "cost-effective" future in the Southern Urals?" These and other issues were discussed by the round table participants – members of Ecodefence!, Planet of Hopes and Ural Ecological Union NGOs with experts, scientists, and business.

At the event, an extraordinary experience on installing solar collectors in private households in the region was presented. It resulted from the project "Switch on the sun and live comfortably" initiated by “Women of Europe for Common Future” (WECF). The first solar collectors installed independently by private farms owners already produce thermal energy.

Developments of the South Urals scientists and projects "Sun Valley" and "The Living House" were presented. The businessmen and owners of private farms shared experience of promotion and operation of solar installations in the Southern Urals.

Professor Irina Kirpichnikova, the Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Renewable Energy of the South Urals State University, told about the areas of research and development in the field of electrical engineering for solar power and renewable energy sources. In her opinion, the prospects for solar energy in the South Urals are more than real - solar installations are safely put into practice.

According to the director of the International Innovation Center "Alternative Energy", Doctor of Technical Sciences Yevgeny Solomin, the potential of practical ideas from local developers of renewable energy sources and demand for technologies are quite large, but administrative and financial support to such initiatives is necessary. That is how alternative sources get gaining momentum for growth around the world.

Sergei Davydov, the Director of PolarSolvostok, told about successful operating experience of solar collectors in conditions of Finland, as well as about the experience of promotion of such plants in the Urals. According to him, more thorough outreach to consumers and diversity of existing demonstration sites are needed for extensive introduction of alternative energy.

Eugene Kolonyuk, the author of the "Solar Valley" project, said: "The results of operation of solar collectors have shown that in 69 % of cases the sun was favorable to us, and friendly heated my house without asking for anything in return, that is, for free. This means that we received clear answers to the two fundamental questions about the feasibility of using alternative energy sources for heating purposes in the harsh climate of the Urals: yes, it is principally possible and appropriate! A collector area of 6 square meters gives about 2000 kWh energy per year."

The round table on the sun energy was dated for the World Energy Efficiency Day not accidentally. The fact is that the degree of efficiency directly depends on the needs of a building in energy consumption. Therefore, the "pioneers" of eco-houses construction cannot say exactly how many square meters of panels or collectors are needed to heat the building. These facts lead to the conclusion about the relevance of personalized approaches to heating and powering buildings, decentralization and localization of energy: the approaches that have recently been increasingly implemented in the world.

Michael Paulichenko told about an interesting individual experience of operating solar panels in the conditions of the Urals. He had installed solar panels on his plot in the vicinity of Yekaterinburg and made monitoring its performance during the year. The innovator-gardener came to the conclusion that the thesis of excessively large volumes in size and cost of installation is no more than a myth. Competent calculation of energy demand and energy audit make solar panels available and appropriate.

Olga Podosenova, the event organizer, and the coordinator of the Ecodefence group (Ekaterinburg) said: "It is believed that solar and wind energy is very expensive and unaffordable for ordinary people, while the interest in energy alternatives is high. We show people that everyone can afford the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency."