District heating and solar thermal energy play an important role in the energy transition of the heat sector in Europe. Solar thermal energy is emission-free, available all over Europe and cost stable. District heating is one major approach to increase the overall energy efficiency in urban areas, and an important platform to increase the share of renewable energies in the heat supply.
A prevailing success factor of the realized plants is the involvement of local actors and policy makers with interest and knowledge to develop and demonstrate the new technologies.
In this section you can find not only a general introduction to SDH but also specific information and products of the SDH projects to support you as heat supplier, local community, housing enterprise, supplier or policy maker.
Take a look at the materials, take part in the activities – become a frontrunner!
At the end of 2015, 252 plants with more than 350 kWth nominal power were in operation in Europe. The technology is booming in Denmark and a dynamic growth can be observed in several other European countries like Sweden, Germany and Austria. The total installed capacity amounts to 750 MWth and the yearly upturn is presently over 30%. Moreover, an increasing number of countries are following this trend and new markets have started to develop, for example in France and Italy.
Solar district heating solutions exist for different types of integration: in small cities, villages and communities, or in renovated or new districts but also in large district heating nets supplying cities.
There are two major types of integration of solar thermal plants in district heating networks:
Central solar district heating plant: The solar collectors deliver heat to a main heating central. With large seasonal heat stores the solar heating plant can cover more than 50 % of the total heat demand.
Distributed solar district heating plant: The solar collectors are placed at suitable locations and connected directly to the district heating primary circuit on site. Often these plants use the district heating network as a storage.
Plants in operation
You can find a complete database of all large scale solar heating plants here.