Top five countries
No data provided from
Highest percentage of citizens served by district heating
Largest total district heating capacity installed in 2013
Highest increase in pipe length of district heating systems between 2009 and 2013
Greatest overall heating sales in 2013 (in million terajoule)
Largest share of renewable energies (excl. CHP plants)
Solar district heating has enjoyed increasing attention from all across Europe and China, triggered by Denmark’s enormous growth rates in the field. Until the end of last year, the Scandinavian country had seen 577 MW of solar thermal power fed into 79 district heating networks mostly run by municipalities. There are another 364 MWth in the pipeline, scheduled for the beginning of this year. To identify the countries with the largest potential for solar district heating, it is worth taking a closer look at the country-by-country statistics of the biennial Euroheat & Power publication, whose most current version is from March 2015 and includes the key market indicators. Euroheat & Power, the association for district heating and cooling, is headquartered in Brussels and has 11 full-time staff.
“No energy transformation without sustainable cities. No sustainable cities without sustainable heating and cooling, and no sustainable SHC without district energy,” reads the straightforward statement on the organisation`s website. The following tables are based on Euroheat & Power´s data summary (see the attached PDF), which can be downloaded free of charge and includes key information from the commercially available country portraits. The summary lists 28 countries, of which 26 gathered comprehensive data on their respective solar district heating market in 2013: Austria, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.
Top 5 countries in district heating applications based on the 2013 summary table published by Euroheat & Power in March 2015 (see the attached PDF)
Iceland was able to claim a top position both regarding the number of citizens connected to district heating and the share of renewable energy in annual district heating supply. The European country owes its success to the widespread use of geothermal and the fact that municipalities, who are at least 51 % publicly owned, have monopoly rights in operating district heating systems.
Regarding installed capacity, China’s 463 GWth made it by far the largest district heating market worldwide. It is estimated that “nearly 55 % of the total heating surface in northern China is supplied by district heating,” according to the country portrait published by Euroheat & Power in March 2015.
Germany, together with second-ranked Poland (56.5 GWth), was the biggest market for district heating within the European Union. Germany’s 3,372 district heating plants added up to a heating capacity of 49.7 GWth, of which 88 % supplied heat produced by either biomass or solar, according to Euroheat & Power.
The three Baltic nations also secured top spots when it came to the number of citizens connected to district heating. Latvia has 68 systems and its capital, Riga – with a population of nearly 800,000 – accounts for approximately 50 % of the country’s district heating market (the nation’s total population is 2 million). Lithuania has a well-developed district heating system, showing 357 networks as of 2013, and had increased its renewable share from 2 % in 2002 to 20 % in 2013 (excluding heat pumps and CHP plants). Estonia supplied 62 % of its citizens with district heating, 15 % of whom directly received energy generated by renewables. According to the country portrait, the district heating sector and its pricing structure are fully regulated, so there is no commercially open market.