37 MW solar district heating plant in Groningen, Netherlands

37 MW solar district heating plant in Groningen, Netherlands

TVP Solar is starting the construction of one of the largest solar thermal fields in the world, in Groningen (NL), to provide clean, carbon-free heating to 10.000 citizens all year round.

The 37 MW solar district heating plant consists of 48000 m2 of TVP Solar High Vacuum Flat Panels, producing 25 GWh of solar heat, achieving 25% of solar share on the total energy consumption of the city, while reducing emissions by 6000 tCO2/y. 

The solar thermal plant will produce and inject directly into the network heat at the required temperatures, from 69°C to 93°C, in wintertime, in sub-zero climate and with low solar irradiance. The solar plant will achieve a yearly average solar/thermal efficiency of 52%. This allows for minimal land occupation (12 hectares) per unit energy produced, maximising the land use efficiency.

The Dorkwerd (Groningen) solar thermal district heating project represents a world class showcase for a new type of infrastructure investment assets. Solar PV developer Solarfields, supported by the local investor K3, joined forces with the technology provider TVP Solar (Switzerland), who is also an equity partner, to shape one of the largest ever private investments in solar thermal plants.

The Partners poured into the project all the best practices for the development of a typical PV investment, but this time dedicated to a new investment asset class: the large scale solar thermal plant for district heating application.

The 23 million EUR investment was possible thanks to the combination of factors such as:

  • the establishment of a long term – 30 years – HPA – Heat Purchase Agreement with the city’s district heating operator – Warmtestad, providing security of a stable cash flow;
  • the awarding of a government subsidisedfeed-in-tariff, the SDE+ scheme, ensuring profitability of the investment;
  • the availability of the innovativehigh performance solar thermal technology, owned by TVP Solar, which grants the best combination of cost/output/durability on the market, and was considered the only possible solution to achieve suitable returns, also in a low irradiance place such as the Netherlands;
  • the performance guarantee made available by TVP Solar, as EPC and O&M operator, to cover operationalrisks for 15 years;
  • thefinancial packaging and bankability of the project, which has secured significant debt financing from Triodos Bank.

As soon as it is built and operational (2023), the project aims to be a first-of-a-kind, fully marketable renewable heat asset, solar thermal based, just as it happens for renewable power assets (e.g. PV and Wind). It will offer project developers a new and viable option to build valuable portfolios, alternative and complementary to traditional renewable assets.


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