Arcon-Sunmark, the market leader in large-scale solar heating plants, is to supply a complete district heating system based on large-scale solar heating. The project will be delivered via Arcon-Sunmark’s joint venture company, which was established by Arcon-Sunmark and Chinese company Sunrain in 2016.
Danish company Arcon-Sunmark, which is owned by VKR Holding, has won an order to supply a remote district heating system based on large-scale solar heating. About 85,000 m2 of mixed property in the Tibetan town of Langkazi will in the future be heated using solar energy. The actual solar heating plant’s solar aperture will cover an area of 22,000 m2 and it will have 15,000 m3 of thermal pit storage. The turnkey contract also includes the building of a district heating network, and installation of central heating in the buildings. This major order is Arcon-Sunmark’s first order in China, and the work will begin immediately. The entire remote district heating system is expected to be operating by October 2018.
“The geographical conditions in Tibet and lack of energy sources make this a very interesting project. In this instance, we can help local residents to acquire a stable and sustainable energy supply, and that is something the local authorities are very interested in,” says Arcon-Sunmark CEO, Ole Dalby.
A developing market
China has enormous energy requirements and therefore faces a major environmental challenge. At the same time, China is the world’s largest market for district heating and for solar heating. This makes the country very exciting for companies like Arcon-Sunmark, which develops large-scale solar heating plants that can be used for district heating and for process heating in industry. This is why Arcon-Sunmark entered the Chinese market in 2016 by establishing a joint venture with the local market leader Sunrain, which specialises in smaller solar heating plants, for example, for private households. Despite China’s energy requirements and knowledge with small solar heating solutions, there is only very limited experience with large-scale solar heating plants, and therefore Arcon-Sunmark has spent the last couple of years maturing and educating the market.
“Obviously, projects of this scale aren’t started just because it could be exciting to try it out. It requires a lot of preparation and legwork to get it to happen. But now we’re in a favourable situation, and we’re seeing a great deal of receptiveness to our messages about environmental and economic sustainability and supply reliability,” says Ole Dalby.
According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), by the end of 2016, there were only 20 large-scale solar heating plants in China (eight solar district heating plants and 12 solar process heating plants) with a total solar aperture of 71,000 m2. In comparison, and just looking at solar district heating in Denmark, by the end of 2016 there were 110 solar heating plants with a total solar aperture of approximately 1,320,000 m2. The largest solar heating plant in Denmark – and also the largest in the world – is located in Silkeborg, and it has a solar aperture of 156,694 m2. In other words, double the size in area for both solar district heating and solar process heating in China. Arcon-Sunmark built this plant in just seven months in 2016.