The newly founded Danish company of Nordic Clean Energy (NCE) offers operators of district and local community heating grids all over Europe a feed-in of solar heat from large collector plants at fixed prices.
Anders Ørding Olsen, one of the company's founders who all came from different areas of the solar, property and district heating sectors, refers, of course, to experiences made with several local communities in Denmark, which have been feeding solar energy into their heating grids. NCE closely cooperates with Sunmark in that regard, with Sunmark being one of the two Danish collector manufacturers besides Arcon. Over the past two years, the company has set up hectare size solar thermal plants on undeveloped pieces of land in the country.
Olsen wants to now use these experiences to offer solar heat also to heating grid operators in other countries, particularly in Germany and Sweden, at a fixed price over 20 years. In Germany, he regards it as possible to provide one kilowatt hour at a cost of 3 EUR cents. He, however, says that achieving that low of a price would, among other things, require using the incentives the German KfW (Reconstruction Loan Corporation) has been offering as part of its renewable energies programme. Plants would then be deemed of economic interest beginning at 8,000 m2.
Until now, Olsen believes his business idea has been without competition:
„Operators of district heating systems could, of course, acquire such plants on the market right now, for example, from Arcon or Sunmark. However, we are the only full-service provider to date that designs, builds and then operates this kind of plant without having the customer to invest in the process.“ Besides Germany and Sweden, Olsen considers Poland, Hungary and Romania to be markets he would be interested in entering. Denmark, in contrast, would provide a contractor with too less opportunities to earn money since there are no longer any support schemes: “It's absurd: The country has the most large-scale solar thermal plants, but right now is not the time to invest in them. Maybe, a grid operator itself could do that - under certain favourable conditions.“
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