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SDH Conference 2015, Toulouse

Solar thermal plants in the megawatt range for district heating

Large-scale solar thermal plants up to 100 megawatts are growing into competitive and environmentally friendly heat supply systems for district heating. About 160 experts and market actors from 20 countries met at the 3rd International Solar District Heating Conference on 17th and 18th of June in the French city of Toulouse, to exchange about new developments and market strategies. 

District Heating and Cooling is increasingly recognised as a fundamental technology to decarbonise the heat sector and reinforce energy security. In this context, solar district heating will play an important contribution in the near future because it combines efficiency, renewable energy and reliance on available local resourcessays Alessandro Provaggi, Head of the DHC+ Technology Platform at Euroheat & Power, the European District Heating association. 

The numerous large-scale solar thermal plants currently being installed in Denmark show that this is possible. „The yearly growth in the current and future years amounts to around
150 megawatt and the largest plant currently in planning already announced a collector area of 150 000 m²
” reports Per Kristensen from the Danish District Heating Association.
Just as impressive is the concept for the “solarisation” of the urban district heating of Graz, presented for the first time. According to Moritz Schubert from the supplier Solid, around
500 000 m² collector area are being discussed, which would cover 20% of the district heating supply of the Austrian city.

„However, a major element of our conference is represented by the new markets in Europe. We deliberately address decision makers and market actors in regions with good boundary conditions” says Thomas Pauschinger, co-organisator of the conference from the Steinbeis Research Institute Solites. New solar district heating initiatives and first realized plants have been presented by speakers from France, Italy and Spain. The national French workshop organized in the frame of the event by Amorce, CEA INES and Tecsol has also been very successful. Around 60 representatives from political entities, communes, suppliers and market companies discussed about the costs and opportunities for solar district heating in France.

Source: Solites

An excursion also led to the first French solar district heating plant in Balma. With around 500 m² evacuated tube collectors from the company Viessmann, and a
1,25 MW biomass boiler, the French company Cofely supplies a new housing area via a district heating net.

Furthermore, the speakers of the
3rd International Solar District Heating Conference presented several new projects and technical concepts, regarding for example the feed-in of solar heat in existing district heating nets, but also experiences with innovative business and financing models. The numerous participants from the industry sector presented their product innovations, especially new developments for large collectors, in a dedicated industry session.
The next edition of the conference will take place in autumn 2016 in Denmark.

Source: Solites

The conference was organized by the French association for municipalities and local authorities Amorce in cooperation with CEA INES, Tecsol and the Steinbeis research institute Solites with the support of Toulouse Métropole as well as the exhibitors Clipsol, Greenonetec and KBB Kollektorbau. It was organized in the frame of the European project SDHplus.

About SDHplus:

The SDHplus project aims at analyzing practical application opportunities for solar thermal energy in district heating at international level, for which additional benefits and synergies result from specific boundary or operating conditions and developing implementation and business models together with relevant market actors (heat suppliers, municipalities and housing sector) to accompany them towards pilot implementation. 18 partners from 13 European countries work together in this project, among them district heating associations, companies and research institutes. The project started in July 2012 and continues until June 2015. It is supported by the European Union in the frame of the IEE Intelligent Energy Europe program.

About Amorce:

Amorce is the French national association for municipalities, local authorities and companies for waste, energy and district heating management. Amorce organized the 3rd International Solar District Heating Conference.


The CEA is the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission. INES is France’s national research and development center for solar energy and building energy systems. CEA INES co-organized the 3rd International Solar District Heating Conference.

About Tecsol:

Since 1983 Tecsol is an independant engineering office specialized in solar energy.  Tecsol co-organized the 3rd International Solar District Heating Conference.

About Solites:

Solites is a research institute for solar and sustainable thermal energy systems within the Steinbeis network. Solites coordinates the international project SDHplus and co-organized the 3rd International Solar District Heating Conference.

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Mr. Riccardo Battisti
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Co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme of the European Union
01/03/2014 – 01/03/2017
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