Feasibility study on solar district heating in China

Junpeng Huang, Jianhua Fan*, Simon Furbo

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Solar thermal has contributed little for space heating in China. In 2014, although China shared 75.8% of the total solar collector installations in the world, only less than 0.3% of the solar collectors were used for space heating. To promote solar district heating (SDH) in China, based on Danish experiences and Chinese clean heating transformation practices, a PEST (policy, economics, social, and technology) analysis and a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis on SDH development in China were conducted. An extensive survey and on-site investigation were carried out to identify the applicability of SDH in rural areas. SDH development strategies, roadmap, and decision-making process for a SDH project are summarized. SDH has a broad application prospect in China with abundant solar resources and favorable policies. The solar heated floor area can achieve 756 million m2 with an assumption of 3% coverage of the total heat demand of buildings. Particular areas with low population density, scarce resources, and strict environmental requirements, e.g., Tibet, should be given a high priority for SDH. Rural villages and small towns with better infrastructure, e.g., district heating networks, are the best target market for SDH in the next five years. With the development of seasonal heat storage technologies and the accumulation of practical experience, SDH can be expanded to industrial parks, large residential communities in sparsely populated northwest China. Integration of solar heat with existing heating networks in big cities with central heating will be challenging in the long run.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
    Pages (from-to)53-64
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Solar district heating
    • Clean heating
    • Feasibility study
    • Roadmap


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