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06/02/2013 | News, Newsletter February 2013
Germany: Solar energy in district heating networks now stronger promoted
In Germany big solar thermal plants with at least 40 m² feeding in a district heating network are now particularly promoted. The operators receive up to 40 % of the investment costs as subsidy to amortisation from the German government owned development bank KfW, while the subsidy for stand-alone operated collectors stays by 30 %.

With this measure the Federal Ministry for the Environement wants to stimulate the use of solar district heating networks which are currently booming in Denmark.

Nowadays, district heating operators still often consider solar as competing with the relatively environment-friendly combined heat and power plants (CHP) because the introduction of solar heat reduces the operation hours of CHP plants. This could be changed now with the German ‘Energiewende’. The use of CHP will be more and more shifted to a combination with the fluctuating power supply of wind power plants and photovoltaic plants. Therefore solar heat will be more attractive in district heating networks. For an optimal interaction of collectors and other energy sources, big heat storages are essential.

Since the Combined Heat and Power Law  (KWK-Gesetz) was amended, heat storages are subsidised with 250 € per cubic meter storage volume. Heat storages without CHP can be promoted by the ‘Marktanreizprogramm’ for renewable energies. The KfW bank also proposes a repayement grant of 250 € per cubic meter storage volume (maximal 30 % of the investment costs) for plants with 20% and more solar heat or 50% and more renewable heat.The amended CHP Law and the ‘Marktanreizprogramm’ also both offer subsidies for district heating pipelines: 100 € per meter in the first case, 60 € per meter in hte second case.

Finally, it is remarkable that the German federation also promotes the integration of small private solar thermal plants in district heating networks, although it is prohibited in some communal ordinances or heat supply contracts. Someone connecting a small solar thermal plant to a district heating network gets, besides the standard subsidy for the collectors, a bonus of 500 €.

This text was written by Guido Bröer, one of the editors of Solarthemen, a biweekly magazine in Germany covering news from all sectors of renewable energies. www.solarthemen.de
Source: Solarthemen:kom Herbst 2012

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