Solar Award 2014
2014 SHC Solar Award recipient the French city of Montmélian   
la Solaire’s Mayor, Mrs. Béatrice Santais, and Ken Guthrie,  
SHC Programme Chair.   

Pioneering Municipality Wins 2014 Solar Award

On October 13th the 2014 SHC Solar Award was presented to the French city Montmélian la Solaire. The Mayor, Mrs. Béatrice Santais, received the award on behalf of city at the SHC Programme’s International Conference on Solar Heating and Cooling for Buildings and Industry in Beijing, China.  The 2014 award recognized not only the excellent results of Montmélian la Solaire, but also the pioneering spirit of the city’s leaders.

“This year’s SHC Solar Award recognizes a municipality with an incredible track record of leading by example,” said Ken Guthrie, chairman of the SHC Programme.  “The city of Montmélian la Solaire has demonstrated for 30 years how to motivate a community and stimulate the development of solar thermal energy through the systematic installation of solar thermal systems in municipal and residential buildings.”

This town of 4,000 residents is firmly committed to the promotion and development of solar thermal.  Nearly 1,500 m2 of solar thermal collectors are installed on buildings. Of this solar collector area, 56% are installed on municipal buildings and 44% on private multifamily houses.  In addition, a solar thermal feasibility study is executed for each new public building project.

The city of Montmélian la Solaire has always been in the forefront of the application of new solar technologies:

  • solar heating for the city’s swimming pool was installed in 1984,
  • large-scale solar heating for the hospital was completed in 1991,
  • solar air heating (SolarWall) for the Inter-district gym hall was installed in 2007, and
  • the ambitious solar city quarter, Triangle Sud, which in 2018 will be the first solar district heating system in France with a solar fraction of 80%!

Currently, the town boasts some 370 m2 of thermal solar panels per 1,000 inhabitants, which is ten times more than the national average. As Mrs. Santais states, “We must continue tirelessly because we are on the right path, the one and only path.”

To ensure continued growth, the city understands that education is key. Information panels are held to explain the operation of a solar thermal installation and the advantages compared to other heating technology. An electronic display shows the power being generated in real-time.  School activities help children understand the value of renewable energy. 

The city of Montmélian la Solaire joins the Drake Landing Company, Fred Morse, Helmut Jäger, Manuel Collares Pereira, Volker Wittwer, Jan-Olof Dalenbäck, William Beckman, and Torben Esbensen as a recipient of this award.

Past Award Winners

  • 2013 SHC Solar Award
    Drake Landing Company – 52 homes heated with 98% solar
  • 2012 SHC Solar Award
    Dr. Frederick H. Morse
  • 2010 SHC Solar Award 
    ​Helmut Jäger, founder and general manager of Solvis Energyiesysteme GmbH
  • 2008 SHC Solar Award
    Professor Manuel Collares Pereira, founder and R&D Director of AO SOL, Energias Renováveis, S.A. and professor at the Technical University of Lisbon
  • 2006 SHC Solar Award 
    Dr. Volker Wittwer, Deputy Director of Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany
  • 2005 SHC Solar Award 
    Dr. Jan-Olof Dalenbäck, Professor at the Chalmers University in Sweden
  • 2004 SHC Solar Award 
    Professor William Beckman, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin
  • 2003 SHC Solar Award 
    Torben Esbensen of Esbensen Consultants A/S, Denmark