The 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.
Last 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).
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.
Poland’s Mazovia Region is one of nine regional actors which have worked together with the Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO, formerly EC BREC), the Polish partner, on the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m: Solar District Heating – From Policy to Market. On 16 March 2017, IEO organised a workshop where 60 stakeholders from the district heating industry and municipal authorities and researchers met to discuss the details of strategies and activities which could support the development of SDH or solar district heating. Solarthermalword.org sat down with IEO’s Aneta Więcka to talk about opportunities, barriers and the current situation of the SDH market in the Mazovia Region and the rest of country.
During 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.
The 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.
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.
On 24 November, the fifth Solar Heat Switzerland (Solarwärme Schweiz) conference organised by the solar industry association Swissolar, the building services association suissetec and the Federal Office of Energy was held in Lucerne, Switzerland. As 2017 funding for solar heat incentives remains in doubt in several cantons and the priorities of the country´s energy policy haven’t been announced yet, the market outlook for solar thermal has not been very encouraging. But there seems to be a ray of hope in the form of low-temperature collectors for borehole regeneration and solar district heating. Click here to download the German-language presentations from the conference.
The recording of the webinar Think big - Design rules and monitoring results of solar district heating systems is now available. Experts from Austria, Denmark and Germany reported on the hot topics in SDH development. They emphasised the fact that solar district heating has an enormous potential and monitoring data shows the high reliability of the systems as well as the high performing new generation of collectors. You find the recording below and the presentations as attachement.