District heating: fast installation and low operation costs

Sonderborg district heating plant Fast installation: The team from the Danish company Sunmark mounted around 600 m2 of collector area every day.
Photo: Sunmark

The first stage of the thermal solar district heating plant in Sønderborg, Denmark, has been installed. In the first week of September, a team from the Danish company Sunmark mounted around 600 m2 of collector area every day. The 3,000 m2 plant will be taken into operation at the beginning of December 2008. The final installation with about 11,000 m2 will meet 55 % of the district heating requirements of the local area. Sønderborg will then be one step further towards its aim to be an entirely CO2 neutral town.

As opposed to traditional collectors with a size of 2 to 3 m2, the solar collectors from Sunmark are 14 m2 each. These big panels give the customer the advantage of low energy costs and short installation times. The investment costs per m2 are much lower than the ones for domestic hot water and heating systems. Typical production costs for energy from the Sunmark turnkey solar installations are around 35 EUR/MWh. The predicted yearly solar thermal output will be 500 kWh/m2.

Sonderborg district heating plant 2 Cost-effective: Typical production costs for energy from the Sunmark turnkey solar installations are around 35 EUR/MWh
Photo: Sunmark

“Typically we can reach pay back times of less than ten years in Denmark”, states Sunmark´s sales manager Sten Beltman Jørgensen. ”This sounds like a long period, but you have to consider that after the installation is paid back, the customer has free energy for the next 10 to 20 years. And what is also important: The operating costs are very low. “From our many years of experience we know that the annual maintenance costs lie around 0.15 €/m2, and by rule of thumb you can calculate with an energy consumption of less than 1 % of the produced energy”, says Jørgensen.

Sunmark has worked with solar thermal heating for more than 20 years and today the company is specialized in large-scale installations mainly in combination with district heating, which is very popular in Denmark. “Approximately ten of the district heating providers have decided to use thermal solar energy as a supplement to oil, gas or others”, says Jørgensen. The biggest and most famous installation with 18,365 m2 is in Marstal on the small Island Ærø.

Sunmark´s next big solar thermal plant is also nearing fruition. “We have just started the production of 7,500 m2 panels for another district heating system in Denmark that will be installed in spring 2009”, confirms the sales manager. “In this project Sunmark has been selected as the turn-key supplier, which means the company takes care of the groundwork, the piping, the building for the heat exchanger, etc.”

Further information:

www.sunmark.com

www.solarmarstal.dk

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