Large-scale Solar Heating and Cooling Systems in Europe
Conference contribution, 2007
In total, there are about 19 million m2 of glazed solar collectors in Europe, corresponding to about 13,5 GWth, where the majority of the collectors are installed in small systems with up to a few kWth. However, the relevant heat loads vary from a few kWth up to several GWth and about 9% of the heating loads in Europe are covered by block and district heating systems. So far, only a minor part of the European collector market comprises large-scale applications. European large-scale solar heating plants having more than 500 m2 (~350 kWth) of solar collectors have only about 140 MWth altogether, i.e. about 1% of the present installations in Europe. There is thus a need to develop large-scale applications in order to utilize the full potential of solar heat to cover existing heat loads.
The first large-scale solar heating applications were introduced in Sweden in the late 70’s. Interests in large-scale solar heating, especially in Germany and Austria, increased during the 90’s and about 100 plants with more than 500 m² of solar collectors are put into operation since mid 90’s. Large-scale plants show more favourable costs of solar heat than most small systems and a strong market growth for small systems in Spain and France could now lead to an increased interest for large-scale applications also in Southern Europe. However, Sweden is still the leading country with 22 out of about 120 European large-scale plants (>500 m2; >350 kWth) in operation.
The majority of large-scale solar applications are installed in block and district heating systems, but there are now also an increasing number of solar cooling plants. The paper gives an update on the present status and describes initial visions and strategies to increase the development of large-scale solar thermal applications within the European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP) in co-operation with representatives for Euroheat & Power.