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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
 

IEA SHC: How to Turn Historic Structures into Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 17, 2017
Villa CastelliMore than one-fourth of all residential buildings in Europe date from before 1945. Over the past decade, preservationists have taken to the idea of renovating historic structures in an energy-efficient manner. The planned IEA SHC task titled Deep Renovation of Historic Buildings Towards Lowest Possible Energy Demand and CO2 Emission intends to find the best solutions to this challenge. The photo shows the Villa Castelli at Lake Como in Italy. The energy requirements of the building have been reduced and the remaining demand has been met by a heat pump and PV-generated electricity. 
Photo: Oscar Stuffer, Solarraum
 

Netherlands: Solar Thermal Benefits from SDE+ Solar Heat Tariff

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 1, 2017
District Heating Workshop NetherlandsIn the Netherlands, solar district heating plants with a capacity of 140 kWth or above can benefit from a feed-in tariff scheme called SDE+, which pays a certain amount per kWh of energy. Under the scheme, operators of renewable energy plants can apply for a subsidy to bridge the gap between market price and cost of energy production. Consequently, interest was high when a workshop about solar district heating (SDH) took place in mid-April 2017. It attracted around 50 people from the district heating and the solar thermal industry, consulting businesses and the government. Organised jointly by Dutch district heating organisation Warmtenetwerk, Holland Solar and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO.nl, the workshop featured a presentation on SDH in Denmark – held by Jan Erik Nielsen from PlanEnergi and based on results from Task 45 and 55 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme – and provided information about the national subsidy scheme, thermal storage technologies as well as the only DH plant in operation in the Netherlands to date.
Photo: Netherlands Enterprise Agency 
 

IRENA: Renewable District Heating and Cooling Roadmap to 2030

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 27, 2017
District Heating PotentialThe International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has published an industry roadmap for Renewable Energy in District Heating and Cooling (DHC) as part of its REmap 2030 project. This study analysed the current state of the DHC market in eleven countries – with a focus on district heating in seven and one on district cooling in the other four – and examined the long-term potential of the two technologies in these countries (see the attached PDF). The countries chosen for the study have distinctly different market environments. Two of them are Denmark and Switzerland, which have had the highest share of renewables in their energy supply (around 40 %); a third one is China, the largest market for DHC today, but one on which renewable energy has yet to play a role at all. The chart shows the key factors impacting the potential of renewable DHC. The aim of the renewable energy roadmap (REmap) programme is to show a path towards doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030.
Chart: IRENA
 

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: Comparing Solar Keymark Data on Collectors with Foil or Double Glass Cover to Ones Without

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 3, 2017
KBB large-scale collectorDenmark’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. Cost cuts in the supply chain are key: Two vital factors are fast installation and less hydraulic work on site. The answer by manufacturers to these challenges has been to design large-scale prefabricated collectors. Suppliers of vacuum tube collectors offer modular designs for easy mounting of collectors above 10 m²; large flat plate versions come as one piece and certified by Solar Keymark. The yearly market surveys by German magazine Sonne Wind & Wärme show that the number of certified flat plate collector panels above 10 m² of gross collector area has increased in Europe in recent years. As of 29 March 2017, the magazine’s online collector database listed 62 models from eight brands compared to 20 types of collectors in October 2015.
Photo: KBB
 

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
 

Worldwide: Flat Plate Collector Manufacturer Ranking

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 21, 2016
Collector Ranking 2015The ranking of the largest flat plate collector manufacturers is headed by the same four companies as last year: Greenonetec from Austria, Fivestar from China, Soletrol from Brazil and Bosch Thermotechnik from Germany. But aside from the continuity at the top, last year shows what different paths some markets have taken. Whereas Australian-based Solahart, one of the pioneers of global solar collector trade, as well as Soletrol, the largest Brazilian manufacturer, have lost ground, several others – such as Sunrain from China, Hewalex from Poland and Eraslan from Turkey – were able to report above-average growth for 2015 and rise through the ranks. The produced collector area of the overall 21 companies added up to 4,212,462 m². The number was 21 and not 20 because the last and second-last spot were occupied by companies with equal production output.
Chart: solrico
 

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