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How to identify suitable areas for SDH

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2018
Chart: Hamburg InstitutThough the availability of areas for large solar district heating plants remains a major point of contention, there are ways to expand the market. They include detailed local heat plans, the use of unconventional, e.g., polluted or contaminated, areas, and awareness raising among public and private stakeholders. A webinar organised as part of the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…from Policy to Market put a spotlight on these topics in February. A recording of the session is available online.
Chart: Hamburg Institut
 

Sweden: Pioneer of solar district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 13, 2018
Chart: Sven WernerWhen it comes to district heating, Sweden has made the switch from fossil fuels to biomass and waste heat (see chart). As early as 2015, biomass provided 46 % of the energy in district heating networks across the country, followed by 24 % from waste incineration and 8 % from industrial excess heat. Fossil fuels came only to about 7 % of the around 175 petajoules, or PJ, produced in Sweden in 2015 (latest data available). These percentages, and the chart, were taken from a 2017 paper titled District heating and cooling in Sweden, written by Sven Werner, Professor Emeritus at the Swedish Halmstad University. Sweden is one of the participating countries of Task 55 Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into DHC Networks of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling programme. The researchers plan to publish a report with country portraits of selected solar district heating markets in 2019. 
Chart: Sven Werner

Solar thermal and biomass – a winning solution for district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 18, 2018
Photo: Riccardo BattistiBiomass may be cheap and carbon-neutral, but a solar upgrade of biomass-fired district heating could further improve efficiency and reduce local emissions. For example, solar heat helps avoid having to start up and shut down wood-chip boilers or operate them at partial load. It can even replace backup fossil fuel systems, which provide district heating networks with energy in summer. During a December 2017 webinar, held as part of the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…From Policy to Market, experts from Sweden and Austria showed promising case studies for a clever combination of biomass and solar thermal in district heating.
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

Solar to replace coal in Polish district heating networks

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 7, 2018
NFOŚiGWZbigniew Kamieński, adviser to the president of NFOŚiGW’s board, has recently made some encouraging statements. During the conference Use of renewable energy sources and seasonal heat storage in district heating in Warsaw on 17 January, he said that the proposal of a new subsidy programme for renewable district heating deserved attention and implementation. The conference with nearly 130 attendees was organised jointly by NFOŚiGW, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, and IEO, the Institute for Renewable Energy, and was supported by the SDHp2m project
All three photos: NFOŚiGW 
 

Sweden’s Solar Heat Market on Hold

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 20, 2017
The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) programme has recently updated its country report on Sweden’s solar thermal industry, pointing out the increasing competition with other energy technologies and the factors exacerbating the decline in sales. It seems as if not even the rather high national carbon tax can reinvigorate the country’s solar heat market. Especially in the residential segment, fossil fuels have already been phased out and biomass boilers plus district heating have become the standard in cities, while heat pumps dominate in rural areas. The photo shows a solar facade with vacuum tube collectors in the Swedish city of Malmö. 
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

Solar Thermal Shows Highest Energy Yield Per Square Metre

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 31, 2017
Area Yield ComparisonThe annual energy yield per square metre is much higher for solar collectors than for other renewable technologies, as the figure on the left shows. Compared to PV, solar collectors produce, on average, three times as many kilowatt-hours. Compared to biomass or bioethanol, output is in average as much as 43 times their yield. The chart shows end energy production and compares directly thermal and electric kilowatt-hours. The grey part of each bar marks the deviation in yield based on different estimates. The absolute values can be found in a table at the bottom of this article.
Source: Fraunhofer ISE, PlanEnergi and Chalmers University
 

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
 

Europe: 23 New and Upgraded Solar District Heating Plants of 190 MWth Start Operation in 2015

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 5, 2016
District Heating EuropeAs in previous years, Denmark remained the country dominating Europe’s solar district heating market. Twenty of the 23 new and upgraded district heating plants in Europe above 350 kWth (500 m²) from the statistics compiled by Jan-Olof Dalenbäck from the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, went into operation in Denmark – whereas Austria, Italy and Sweden had only one each to show for. Dalenbäck’s database shows 211 large-scale district heating plants currently in operation, with combined output at 708 MW (1.01 million m²). This means that only every fourth district heating plant in Europe uses solar energy compared to the 5,400 district heating systems a database from Swedish Halmstad University lists from across the EU-27. The map shows 2,188 cities with 2,445 larger district heating systems. The highest plant densities can be found in Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. 
Source: Heat Roadmap Europe 2050 - Second pre-study for the EU27 (see the attached document)
 

Europe: Online Database on Large-Scale Solar Heating Plants

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 18, 2014
District Heating per CountryThe database on Europe’s largest solar heating plants, which can be found on the EU project SDHplus website, dates back to 1997. In the meantime, it has grown to 131 solar heating plants totalling a collector area of 586,000 m² (410 MWth). The first plants included in the database were installed in 1979. 124 of 131 systems are solar heating plants, most of them for district heating (particularly those in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Poland and France), but also for large buildings, industrial use and other applications, whereas seven are cooling installations. The database contains "close to 100 % of all plants which have a minimum thermal output of 700 kW and started operating until the end of 2013,” says Jan-Olof Dalenbäck from the Chalmers University of Technology, who is in charge of updating the database as part of the SDHplus project. Eleven of these systems, with a joint output of 22 MW, have been shut down by now. The pie chart shows the installed collector area of district heating systems broken down by country.
Source: Database on SDHplus website
 

Sweden: New Solar-Heated Residential Area in Vallda Heberg

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 15, 2014
Vallda Heberg Main Heating PlantSolar district heating may still be in its infancy, but more and more projects across Europe are starting to showcase its great potential. Speakers at the second International Solar District Heating Conference, which took place in Hamburg, Germany, on 3 and 4 June 2014, presented and analysed several solar district heating designs, as well as their successful implementation. For example, Jan-Olof Dalenbäck, Professor at the Chalmers University of Technology, shared the first performance results of the solar thermal systems at the new solar-heated residential area in Vallda Heberg, Sweden. The photo shows the main heating station with 108 m² vacuum tube collectors in its facade. 
Photo: Calmers University of Technology
 

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