Denmark’s success story in solar district heating, with 2016 having been another record year which almost doubled newly installed collector area to around 500,000 m², showcases the large potential of this type of application across Europe.
It is an ideal location for solar cooling use: Scottsdale, a US city in the Greater Phoenix area in Arizona enjoys an average of 312 days of sunshine every year. Between May and September, temperatures rise above 38°C and can even reach 46°C on a hot day. This is where in July 2011, Austrian company S.O.L.I.D has started to plan a solar cooling system for Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School (DMHS) of 2,600 students. Three years later, the 3.4 MWth (4,865 m² of collector area) system went into operation and is now supplying heat to a single-effect lithium bromide absorption chiller with a cooling capacity of 1,750 kW. The solar cooling installation at the DMHS is currently the largest of its kind in the world, having surpassed the 2.7 MWth solar thermal capacity (3,900 m²) of another S.O.L.I.D system at the United World College(UWC) in Singapore.
The first conference “Solar District Heating – Technical solutions, urban planning and business models” took place in the Swedish town of Malmö on 9 and 10 April 2013. It brought together 120 participants from 19 countries: manufacturers, district heating companies, scientists and industry associations. Examples from Sweden made clear that it is not easy to integrate solar heat into a system which has not been designed for it. The main topics in the presentations from Sweden were operation issues and the question what is a fair price for solar heat. But an ongoing discussion in Germany illustrates that the integration of solar into district heating networks also has strong economic and political elements. The photo shows the conference participants visiting a solar plant operated by E.ON Sweden in the Western Harbour of Malmö.
With the expansion to the United Kingdom and Switzerland, Sonnenkraft’s network of sales offices now spans across nine countries. When adding the company’s partnerships in other markets, the manufacturer is among the solar thermal businesses with the most extensive market coverage across Europe. Solarthermalworld.org spoke to Magnus Wallin (left), who has been Director of new and emerging markets in Sonnenkraft since 2008, and Torben Sørensen (right), CEO of SolarCAP since 2010 (the Danish holding company of Sonnenkraft – among other companies) who came from a position as CEO of Faber and Benthin Group (subsidiaries of VKR Holding), about the market potential in different European countries and the company’s future growth strategy. Photos: Sonnenkraft
Greek manufacturer Sole has already completed its second large-scale solar thermal project in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The company installed a 1,026 m² (0.72 MWth) solar thermal system at the newly constructed Dubai Sports Complex, which provides the sports facilities with hot sanitary and swimming pool water. The photo shows Sole´s Managing Director, Vangelis Lamaris, testing the stability of the collector field. Photo: Sole
The newly founded Danish company of Nordic Clean Energy (NCE) offers operators of district and local community heating grids all over Europe a feed-in of solar heat from large collector plants at fixed prices.
802 collectors mounted in only three months: the inauguration of the latest solar district heating system by the Danish collector manufacturer Arcon Solvarme took place in the town of Gram in June this year. Photo: Arcon