Solar heating in Denmark

Theoretically, solar energy is the largest renewable energy source in the world as well as in Denmark. The annual solar radiation on Denmark’s land area is about 180 times larger than Denmark’s total annual energy consumption. Especially solar heating systems are of great interest.

Today five types of solar heating systems are used in Denmark:

  • Solar domestic hot water (SDHW) systems
  •  Solar combi systems
  • Solar heating plants for heating a whole town or a part of a town by means of a district heating system
  • Air collectors for dehumidification of houses
  • PVT systems for combined heat and electricity production

Today simple financial payback times of solar heating systems in Denmark are 5-15 years, and merely by making technological improvements they can be halved.
Research and development in the field of small and medium sized solar heating systems should concentrate on hot water tanks and interplay between solar collectors and other renewable energy sources. There is a need for prefabricated easy to install components for small systems. The development of larger systems should concentrate on solar collectors, solar collector fields, control strategies and seasonal heat storage.

A number of Danish manufacturers and companies are active on the European solar heating market. For example:

  • Arcon-Sunmark A/S has produced large solar collector panels for most of Europe’s solar heating plants.
  • Aalborg CSP A/S is producing concentrating tracking solar collectors for solar heating plants.
  • Sunarc A/S produces antireflection treated glass for a large number of Europe’s leading solar collector manufacturers.
  • Grundfos A/S produces circulation pumps for many solar collector manufacturers around the world.
  • Solarventi A/S markets patented air solar collectors for dehumidification of houses with great success.

In the future, a considerable part of Denmark’s energy demand can be covered by solar heat. As appears from figure 1, even now solar heating systems and wind energy systems are the most important types of renewable energy systems internationally.

Figure 1. Installed capacity and energy production worldwide for renewable
energy systems.

During the last years the solar heating market Worldwide has stagnated, while the Danish market has grown strongly. Denmark is the frontrunner on large solar heating plants. By the end of 2016, 80% of the solar collector area in operation in all the solar heating plants in the World were located in Denmark. The market growth is expected to continue, see figure 2 and the picture in the header*. If Danish companies are to continue to benefit by the large markets abroad and in Denmark, they must be able to offer products and services of high quality. This requires well-trained employees with expertise in the solar heating field, so that products and services of the companies can be based on the newest research in the field.

*The picture in the header from Arcon-Sunmark A/S is the largest solar heating system in the World:  Silkeborg solar heating plant with 156,694 m² solar collectors started in 2016.