HOT|COOL NO. 3/2019 - "Big Markets: China and Poland


Lankazi – solar field

LIFESPAN OF AT LEAST 25 YEARS For communities that previously had no DH solution and with energy being a scarce resource in general, becoming self- sufficient of heat via the solar DH systems has an immediate positive impact on everyday life. Furthermore, there is also a long-term perspective to the investment. The large-scale solar heating solution that produces the heat for the entire system has a lifespan of at least 25 years – and based on experience from existing solutions the lifespan may very well be longer. During that period, there will be limited maintenance and limited operational costs. Since the vast majority of the lifecycle cost is the initial investment, the annual cost of providing communities with DH is well known in advance and will be fixed for at least 25-year time horizon. Nobody knows what the future brings, but it is probably safe to say that it is a great benefit to know that your operational costs are fixed for the next 25 years. Large-scale solar DH is not environmental charity, it is a sound and clean investment. VERSATILE TECHNOLOGY Basically, large-scale solar heating systems only rely on the radiation from the sun in order to produce energy, and unlike other renewable energy sources, solar thermal energy can practically be stored for later use – as is the case in both Zhongba and Langkazi. This makes the solar heating systems very versatile and means that it can be implemented for a wide range of heating and process purposes. In Northern Europe, large-scale solar heating is primarily used for DH, where it is part of the energy mix together with e.g. biomass or gas. In Denmark, 25 % of the DH plants have invested in solar heating, and in Denmark, you will find the biggest systems in the world. You will also find large-scale solar heating systems for the mining industry in Chile and Mexico and for a leather factory in Vietnam.

What do these locations have in common with each other and Tibet? Not much, besides that the sun is shining, and that is exactly the point. The radiation is much stronger in the Andes and on the Tibetan Plateau than it is in Northern Europe, and the climate in general is very different from place to place. But large-scale solar heating is so versatile that it literally can be implemented everywhere in the world, either as an independent energy source or integrated in an existing energy supply system.

Source: Frauenhofer ISE, PlanEnergi and Chalmers University, submitted by Bärbel Epp,

HEAD TO HEAD WITH OTHER RENEWABLES Large-scale solar heating systems are one of the most efficient renewable energy sources currently available. Directly compared with photovoltaic energy – where you produce electricity by harvesting solar radiation – large-scale solar heating is three times as effective. Comparing large-scale solar heating with biomass gives you a difference in output of more than 40 times. Therefore, it is widely expected that large-scale solar heating in the future will play a very important part in supplying the world with clean and reliable energy for district heating and heating for industrial purposes.


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