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District Heating

China: Arcon-Sunmark and Sunrain Establish Joint-Venture for Large Projects

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 10, 2016
Sunrain Arcon Joint VentureA new joint venture founded in Beijing, China, on 31 May aims at offering large-scale solar heating solutions on the Chinese market. The country’s market leader, Jiangsu Sunrain Solar Energy, and Arcon-Sunmark, a Danish turnkey large-scale system provider, joined forces to establish Arcon-Sunmark Large-Scale Solar Systems Integration Co., Ltd., headquartered in Beijing. The photo shows (from left) Xinjian Xu, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Jiangsu Sunrain Solar Energy, Torben Sørensen, Group Executive Officer of VKR Holding, the owner of Arcon-Sunmark, and Mads Kann-Rasmussen, Board Member of VKR Holding, who represents the family behind VKR.
Photo: Arcon-Sunmark
 

Austria: Award-Winning Energy Service Company Publishes ESCO Model Fact Sheets

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 26, 2016
Contracting AwardEnergy Service Companies (ESCO) have become pioneers in the development of financing and operating models for various energy sector customers. Every two years, the so-called Contracting Award highlights exemplary ESCO projects in Germany (“Contracting” is the German word for Energy Service Contracts). For the first time since the launch of the awards in 1997, the jury members from the magazine Energy & Management and the German Heat & Power Association, AGFW, presented one of these awards to a solar thermal ESCO. On 16 April, Christian Holter (third from left), Managing Director of Austrian turnkey system supplier S.O.L.I.D., was presented with the second prize for its solar energy supply contract with a district heating company in the Austrian city of Graz. The company published Tech Sheets and Fact Sheets about ESCO models as part of the IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling programme’s Task 45, Large Scale Solar Heating and Cooling Systems (see the attached documents).
 

Italy: First-Year District Heating Yield Better than Expected

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 20, 2016
Output VareseThe first and so far unique solar district heating plant in Italy completed its first year in operation in mid-May this year. According to metering by the operator of the 990 m² collector field, utility Varese Risorse, output was significantly higher than expected. The chart shows the total output measured over almost 12 months: It was 13 % higher than the target figure. The solar district heating plant was developed and installed by a newly founded Italian company, SDH Energy, which also guaranteed the solar yield (red line).
Chart: Varese Risorse/SDH Energy
 

Germany: Construction Starts on 2,230 m2 Solar Field in Chemnitz

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 19, 2016
On 11 May, construction work started on a new 2,230 m2 ground-mounted collector array (2,090 m2 of aperture area) in the city of Chemnitz. The project is said to be completed within about a month, and the plant is scheduled to come into operation a few weeks later. The collector field is expected to supply almost 5 % of the heat provided by the new district heating grid for the Brühl housing development near the city centre. 
Photo: inetz
 

Bulgaria: Solar District Heating Becomes Realistic Option

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 28, 2016
 
It seems paradoxical: Although abundant sunlight is usually associated with southern Europe, the most solar district heating (SDH) plants in Europe are located in the north, mainly in Denmark, but also in Norway and Sweden. Milan Rashevski, a Bulgarian architect from the non-governmental Institute for Zero Energy Buildings (IZEB), now intends to establish this kind of energy supply in his country too. “We have round about 25 % more sunshine than Denmark, so what works there should be possible here as well,” he said. With the support of Danish organisation State of Green, Rashevski and his IZEB colleagues visited some of the largest SDH plants in Denmark last year.
 

Austria: Big Solar – EUR 200 Million Investment in Graz

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 15, 2016
Kleine ZeitungThe Austrian municipality of Graz is preparing for the post-fossil fuel heating era: On 27 February, the front page of national newspaper Kleine Zeitung (copies sold each day: around 300,000) read “Graz plans largest solar storage worldwide”. According to the news article, regional energy provider Energie Steiermark and Austrian solar thermal system supplier S.O.L.I.D conducted a feasibility study for a huge solar district heating plant called Big Solar – with promising results. The study and the news article both references the world’s largest collector field in Danish Vojens with 70,000 m² (49 MWth) as a successful example of how to undertake such a large project. At the beginning of April, Energie Steiermark confirmed the plans for Big Solar’s realisation in a press release about 2015’s annual financial statement. 

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)
 

Austria: Low Oil Price and Lack of Political Support Weakens Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 15, 2016
Heating with oilAccording to the ISOL Index by solrico and market data from the industry association Austria Solar, the solar thermal industry is heading into another year of declining markets. Low oil prices and corresponding campaigns of the fossil heating industry have had a substantial impact on this renewable technology. The banner shows the slogan “Heizen mit Öl – das zahlt sich aus” (The Benefits of Using Oil to Heat Your Home) on the website of the Austrian mineral oil industry, which offers grants of EUR 2,500 for the installation of a condensing oil boiler in a single-family building. Austria Solar has also criticised the reduction in the renewable budget of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund as well as the complicated incentive scheme rules throughout the states. The large-scale project market is what keeps the industry alive. 

Italy: Conto Termico 2.0 Refers to Expected Yield

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 12, 2016
The latest statistics of Conto Termico in Italy show that the national incentive scheme has still not been used enough: As of 1 January 2016, it had supported only 62 solar thermal plants for public buildings, while the private sector figure was 10,634. Assuming an average plant size of 7 m², as estimated by Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), this corresponds to a total subsidised collector area of 75,000 m² – a fairly low result over the 30 months of the scheme. The subsidy volume for solar thermal now amounts to about EUR 27.5 million, around half of the total incentives which have so far been distributed by Conto Termico. This is again a rather small figure compared to an originally planned budget of EUR 900 million. GSE, the state-owned administrator of Conto Termico, has therefore modified the scheme rules. 

Austria: Optimising of Large-scale Collector Fields

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 6, 2016
Hydraulic SchemesOne key aspect of the energy and cost optimisation of large-scale collector fields (called arrays in this news) is collector array hydraulics. Optimal connection is achieved when (1) the costs and length of the connecting pipes is small, (2) the pressure drop over the entire array is low and (3) there is homogeneous mass flow distribution across the entire field. “Homogeneous mass flow reduces power losses in the circuit, avoids inefficient pump operation and prevents local stagnation,” explains Philip Ohnewein. The researcher at Austrian institute AEE INTEC managed the four-year project ParaSol (2011 to 2014), which – among other things – analysed the advantages and disadvantages of different hydraulic designs of large collector arrays of several hundreds to several thousands of panels. The results were also discussed and published as part of Task 45, Large Systems: Large Solar Heating/Cooling Systems, Seasonal Storage, Heat Pumps, of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme in a two-page info leaflet and a 44-page technical document (attached to this article). 
 

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