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Land secured for Big Solar Graz

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 25, 2018
SilkeborgBig Solar Graz has reached a significant milestone by purchasing the land on which to construct a solar field and a seasonal storage system. In mid-June, the project partners told the local press that they had bought 55 hectares in the south of Graz, in the Austrian state of Styria, between the city’s airport and the A9 motorway. A flyer by the region’s public utility, Energie Steiermark, stated that the area was large enough to accommodate a 220,000 m² solar field (154 MWth) and 900,000 m³ of seasonal storage, including three ponds. It has been modelled on the world’s biggest solar district heating plant to date, a 110 MWth installation in the Danish town of Silkeborg (see photo).
Photo: Energie Steiermark

Record participation at SDH 2018 in Graz

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 3, 2018
Photo: Climate and Energy FundThe 5th International Solar District Heating Conference, which took place in Graz, Austria, in mid-April, brought together 350 experts from 33 countries. It had twice as many attendees as the previous one in Billund, Denmark, in 2016 and attracted representatives from several development banks, such as the German KfW, the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank via its group member International Finance Corporation, or IFC. The photo shows the conference’s supporters and its three organisers, namely Christian Fink (second from left), Austrian research institute AEE INTEC; Thomas Pauschinger (fifth from left in the back), German research institute Solites; and  Werner Lutsch, Managing Director of the German Heat & Power Association, or AGFW for short (second from right). 
Photo: Climate and Energy Fund

“Contract market fluctuates from year to year”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 17, 2018
Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark2017 was a difficult year for solar district heating supplier Arcon-Sunmark based in Denmark. The collector manufacturer’s turnover dropped from Danish Krone (DKK) 457 million, or USD 75 million, to DKK 98 million, or USD 16.2 million, according to a press release published on 21 March 2018. The uncertain country’s energy policy caused a delay in the launch of new SDH projects in the second half of 2016. Consequently, pre-tax profit went from DKK 46 million (USD 7.6 million) in 2016 to minus DKK 99 million (USD 16.3 million) in 2017. “We have made the necessary adjustments. At the same time, we have invested in retaining the clear market leader position that we achieved over the years,” Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark (see photo), said.

Solar district heating on the Roof of the World

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 27, 2018
Photo: Task 55A contract to set up a solar district heating network in Langkazi county in Tibet has been awarded to Arcon-Sunmark Large-Scale Solar Systems. The Chinese-Danish joint venture signed an agreement with the local government of the autonomous region of Tibet. The system should provide solar district heating for 82,600 m² of floor area and meet 90 % of the yearly space heating demand in Langkazi, the town sharing its name with the county. The system, planned to be set up by November, will consist of a 22,000 m² collector field, 15,000 m³ of pit storage and a 3-MW electric boiler. The sponsor of the pilot project is China’s central government.
Photo: Task 55

Solar heat in Vietnam, the new workshop of the world

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 4, 2018
PrimeAsia Leather CompanyA 5,000 m² flat plate collector field is currently being built at PrimeAsia Leather in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Vietnam. The turnkey supplier of the installation is Danish-based Arcon-Sunmark, which has its own flat plate collector production facilities in this South East Asian country. According to a press release published at the beginning of last November, the solar plant is scheduled to come online in early 2018. The solar heat is said to be used for preparing the animal skins and evaporating the factory’s waste water.
Photo: PrimeAsia Leather Company
 

China: Sunrain Finalises Strategic Cooperation Agreements

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 30, 2017
Natural Ressources CanadaThe Chinese Sunrain group, the world’s biggest collector manufacturer, is broadening its product portfolio to include large-scale solar thermal plants. Sunrain had already made the first step towards globalising its strategic partnerships by establishing a joint venture with Danish-based Arcon-Sunmark in June 2016. It has now concluded a cooperation agreement with CanmetEnergy in Canada with the aim to develop solar district heating systems using borehole heat storage fields for seasonal storage in China. Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr (back row 2nd from left) oversaw the signing of the agreement during his visit to China in June 2017. The agreement was signed by Xinjian Xu, Founder and Board Chair of Sunrain Solar Energy (front right) and Frank Des Rosiers, Assistant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada’s Innovation and Energy Technology (front left).
Photo: Natural Ressource Canada
 

IEA Task 55: Solar District Heating Means Big Business

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 23, 2017
Task 55Solar district heating is attractive business. Not only does this become obvious when looking at the 347 MWth of newly installed SDH capacity in Denmark in 2016, but also when one hears about Big Solar, a 250 MWth collector field – with 1.8 million m² of seasonal storage – planned to cover 20 % of the energy demand in the Austrian city of Graz by 2020. It certainly explains the high interest in international research platform Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into DHC Networks, or Task 55 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. “We welcomed 33 participants from eight countries during our second project meeting in Aalborg in mid-March, and even had to limit the number of participants per company because of the huge demand,” explained Sabine Putz, Operating Agent of Task 55 and COO and Head of R&D at S.O.L.I.D.
Photo: AALBORG CSP
 

Denmark: Solar District Heating Capacity Nearly Doubles in 2016

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 25, 2017
District Heating in DenmarkLast year was a record-breaking one for new solar district heating (SDH) installations in Denmark. With 31 new SDH systems and 5 plant expansions, the newly installed collector area grew at double the rate of 2015 and totalled 495,226 m² (347 MWth). The year prior saw 15 plants built and three expanded, while collector area increased by 250,161 m² (175 MWth). Almost all plants newly installed or expanded in 2016 were equipped with flat plate collectors, except for the 18.9 MWth parabolic trough installation in Brønderslev. The annual statistic on SDH installations is maintained by Daniel Trier from Danish consultancy PlanEnergi and starts with the very first large SDH plant in 1988. Trier said that at the end of 2016, there had been 104 SDH plants in operation with a combined collector area of 1.3 million m² (911 MWth).
Chart: PlanEnergi
 

Austria: New Medium-Temperature Collectors Show Remarkable Yield in District Heating Use

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 2, 2017
Graz Test Field SOLIDDuring the last seven years, a group of scientists has monitored selected large solar thermal installations in Austria on behalf of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund. The gathered data confirms that these plants have been reliable and produce satisfactory yields. Particularly the new generation of large-scale medium-temperature collectors either with a foil or with a second glass cover shows remarkable results in district heating use. The 2,490 m² solar field (see photo) which has fed heat into the district heating network of Graz, Austria, reached a yield of 489 kWh/m². 
Photo: Picfly.at Thomas Eberhard
 

Denmark: New Solar District Heating World Record

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 26, 2017
SilkeborgThe Danish town of Silkeborg now holds the record for having the world’s largest solar heating system. The SDH plant of 156,694 m² (110 MWth) came online as scheduled in December 2016 after only seven months of construction. Municipal utility Silkeborg Forsyning intends to use the harnessed solar energy to meet 20 % of the annual heating demand of the 21,000 plant-connected users. The solar field was divided into four subfields to make it possible to set up the installation and hydraulics systems on this irregularly shaped piece of land (see photo). The former record holder is another installation in Denmark, in Vojens, boasting 70,000 m² (48.90 MWth) of installed solar thermal capacity. Both plants were turnkey deliveries from Danish collector manufacturer Arcon-Sunmark. 
Photo: Arcon-Sunmark
 

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