Throughout the past decades, Bulgaria’s governments have focused almost exclusively on large conventional energy projects, such as nuclear plants or gas and oil pipelines, whereas small and decentralised renewable energy systems haven’t received much attention from politicians. But the large-scale projects are complex and expensive, so none of them have come to fruition. This is where the most current study by the Bulgarian Institute for Zero Energy Buildings (IZEB) comes in: It sends an important message to all stakeholders by describing a way to keep the entire Bulgarian capital of Sofia and its 1.2 million inhabitants warm without the use of any combustion fuel.
It seems paradoxical: Although abundant sunlight is usually associated with southern Europe, the most solar district heating (SDH) plants in Europe are located in the north, mainly in Denmark, but also in Norway and Sweden. Milan Rashevski, a Bulgarian architect from the non-governmental Institute for Zero Energy Buildings (IZEB), now intends to establish this kind of energy supply in his country too. “We have round about 25 % more sunshine than Denmark, so what works there should be possible here as well,” he said. With the support of Danish organisation State of Green, Rashevski and his IZEB colleagues visited some of the largest SDH plants in Denmark last year.