In cooperation with EU project SmartReFlex, solarthermalworld.org will soon hold the webinar Think big – Design rules and monitoring results of solar district heating systems. We invite every stakeholder to join the event scheduled online for 1.5 hours on Tuesday, 6 December 2016, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Central European Time (time zone includes Berlin, Brussels, and Copenhagen). The webinar will be free of charge and will be open to anyone interested in the topic. You can register for it online.
Solar district heating is becoming increasingly attractive to small towns and municipalities which are looking for energy independence and stable heat prices, a trend which was discussed at length during the October webinar by the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). Entitled Renewable district heating – Small local grids and cooperative utilities, it offered an opportunity for German and Danish experts to present successful case studies, underline the political frame conditions which foster renewable integration into district heating and explain the advantages of cooperatives (recording available online). The photo shows the experts participating in this first webinar of a three-part series coordinated by Riccardo Battisti, Head of EU Project SmartReFlex: Per Alex Sørensen and Per Kristensen from Denmark as well as Oliver Miedaner from German Solites (from left). The second webinar – Think big: Design rules and monitoring results of solar district heating systems – will be organised in cooperation with solarthermalworld.org and is scheduled for 6 December (online registration).
The 4th International Solar District Heating (SDH) Conference, which had been organised under the auspices of Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…from Policy to Market on 21/22 September 2016 in Denmark, showed the importance of analysing real-life monitoring data from European SDH plants, with one conference session (Advanced SDH systems II) dedicated exclusively to the topic. These kinds of comparisons enable an understanding of the actual performance of such large collector fields and offer an opportunity for optimising power output and for creating best-practice examples of new plants. For example, the chart displays ten years’ worth of monitoring data from the German plant in Crailsheim, which has met solar yield expectations.
Source: Attached SDH conference presentation from ITW
Seasonal storage is a key component in the transformation of today’s energy industry. Besides storing energy in summer for heating in winter, it can also be used to save waste heat from the industry and to increase the electricity production from biomass CHP plants. Experiences gathered with the technology during case studies were summarised as part of the study Seasonal thermal energy storage – Report on state of the art and necessary further R+D, which was published by Task 45, Large Scale Solar Heating and Cooling Systems, of the IEA SHC programme. Together with the Guidelines for Materials & Construction on the two most common storage types, borehole (see the chart) and water pit, it provides a good overview of the current advancements in this field (all three documents attached). Additional research into the design of seasonal storage will be carried out in follow-up Task 55, Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into District Heating and Cooling (DHC) Network. Interested stakeholders have been invited to join the kick-off meeting of Task 55 in Graz, Austria, between 19 and 21 October (see contact details below).
German research institute Solites has compared different models of solar heat use in district heating networks by focusing on the economic viability of these projects. The study Solar Heat Networks for Baden-Württemberg – Fundamentals. Potentials. Strategies. published at the beginning of July was supported by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector of Baden-Württemberg, a federal state in the south of Germany (see the attached document in German). The authors of the study analyse seven different generic types of district heating systems which integrate solar thermal, and they come to the conclusion that type 3, 6 and 7, i.e., applications in small rural district heating systems as well as integrations into existing larger urban district heating systems, generate the lowest solar heat costs. On average, heat costs are around 60 EUR/MWh over a period of 25 years, excluding subsidies. In some cases, they even get below 50 EUR/MWh.
Renewable heat comes out on top whenever it substituted fossil energy, Swiss solar thermal pioneer Josef Jenni stated during the first panel discussion of the conference on district heating with solar and biomass, which was held in the German city of Trier on 16 and 17 April 2015. Organised by the local solar association, Solarverein, it provided a platform for experts from small and medium-sized industrial companies, universities and research institutes based in Germany, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Austria and Luxemburg to work on turning this objective into a reality by focusing on viable business models of renewable use in district heating systems.
After Denmark and Germany, it will now be France’s turn to host the Solar District Heating Conference. Researchers, as well as representatives from municipality utilities and solar thermal system suppliers will meet in Toulouse on 17 and 18 June 2015 to discuss international case studies, new business models and marketing strategies. The two-day event will consist of a mix of panel discussions, presentations by industry experts and site visits. In Toulouse, conference participants can visit the first French solar district heating plant, which is located in the eco-district of Balma and boasts 458 m² of vacuum tube collectors on a shade structure on top of a parking lot (see photo).
On 3 and 4 June 2014, the halls of the old waterworks of municipal utility “Hamburg Energie” in Hamburg, Germany, became the venue for the 2nd International Solar District Conference. 115 participants from 13 countries and many different backgrounds were offered a wide range of presentations covering policy, market and technical issues, along with several practical examples of solar district heating plants. On top of that, the conference offered a technical tour to the solar district heating project “Energy Bunker” at the site of the International Building Exhibition IBA in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg (see photo). The Energy Bunker is one of these lighthouse projects speakers and participants deemed nessessary to make solar district heating visible to consumers and politicians.
Two international conferences on solar heating and cooling will take place in Germany at the beginning of June: the Intersolar Europe Conference in Munich from 2 to 4 June 2014 and the Solar District Heating Conference in Hamburg on 3 and 4 June 2014. Both event organisers have now published the complete programme.
The calculation of solar heat prices very much depends on the frame conditions. The chart on the left shows heat prices for a solar district heating system, with costs differing between 37 and 88 EUR/MWh. The best-case scenario - with a 3 % low-interest loan and a 40 % investment subsidy – allows a heat price of 37 EUR/MWh, whereas the worst case without a subsidy and with an 8 % interest rate forces the heat price to levels as high as 88 EUR/MWh. The calculation, which uses the newly developed online tool by German research institute Solites, is based on a 3,000 m² collector field and a 600 m³ storage tank. The tank feeds directly into a district heating network, which covers 9 % of the annual heat demand.