Advanced strategies, programs and activities supporting the development of solar district heating investments in selected European regions
On 16 March 2017, the Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO) organised a workshop in Warsaw, Poland, to raise awareness on the benefits of Solar District Heating (SDH) and strategies for its implementation. The workshop gathered 60 key stakeholders representing the Polish district heating sector, academics and municipal authorities.
The workshop was divided in four main topics: the situation of the heating market in Poland, the development of the SDHp2m project, best practices on large-scale solar district heating systems and financing models and economic aspects related to implementation of SDH.
Grzegorz Wiśniewski, President of IEO, highlighted during his speech that ‘Poland has a great potential for the integration of Solar District Heating’. In this regard the Horizon 2020 project, SDHp2m, provides a coordinated planning framework to Improve RES DHC (renewable energy sources in district heating and cooling networks) policy, better access to financing and business models, sustained public acceptance while bridging the gap between policy and market through market support and capacity building. District heating and cooling also offers a great platform for the integration of RES and efficient technologies, such as, biomass, solar thermal, geothermal and, especially in the case of Poland, industry surplus and CHP (combined heat and power).
Thomas Pauschinger (Steinbeis Research Institute Solites), emphasised that ‘no energy transition will take place without transition in the heating and cooling sector’. The time for action is now.
‘Technical solutions for large-scale solar district heating systems in Europe are matured and operational’ Professor Jan-Olof Dalenbäck (CIT Energy Management AB) underlined during this presentation. Solar District Heating grids offer the right infrastructure for cost-efficient energy efficiency integration. ‘Large-scale Solar District Heating can supply heat at a competitive price of 25 to 45 EUR/kWh’ as Peter Eijbergen (Arcon-Sunmark GmbH) explained. Large-scale plants offer a strong cost stability as the prices of MWh can be fixed for a period of over 25 years. Arcon-Sunmark together with Energie Stelermark are developing a solution with a solar coverage of 20% of the yearly heat demand of Graz. In this regard, Mr Per Alex Sørensen (PlanEnergi) also presented the case of Solar District Heating in Denmark, where thanks to this technology and the expertise of Løkken Varmeværk (a consumer owned company), the city of Løkken, Denmark, is supplied entirely with solar heat during the summer period.
With regard to the economic aspects of solar district heating system, the main cost factors for the implementation of an SDH system, as explained by Moritz Schubert (SOLID), depend mainly on: complexity, the scope of supply, the type of collectors and the type of substructure and system size. In terms of financing models, different solutions can be considered: from ESCO projects, crowdfunding (civic participation) and crowd-lending (a lending based crowdfunding) to a more traditional ones like private loans. In the case of Poland, Mr Schubert explained that there are several financing sources as, for example: the Voivodship of Mazowieckie (an Operational Program for Infrastructure and Environment and Regional Operational Program for efficient heating systems, ESC), the National fund and international finance institutions (i.e. EBRD).
Building on the outcome of the workshop, Solar District Heating is a cost-efficient and mature technology that provides flexibility, cost-stability and a renewable energy supply with no CO2 emissions. This factors make Solar District Heating a crucial driver to fight climate change and contribute to the smart energy cities of tomorrow.