China is the world’s largest market for DH, in addition to being the largest solar thermal market – a promising combination. In 2017, the Chinese central government conducted SDH feasibility studies in more than 20 counties and cities in Tibet, where many houses lack space heating, and awarded funding for two sites.
The Chinese parabolic trough collector manufacturer Vicot Solar Technology has signed a contract with the local government to install a solar district heating system in Shenzha county. The photo, taken in November 2017, shows one-third of the field’s substructure. The entire installation will have 18,000 m² of aperture area. The parabolic collector field is being installed in Shenzha county. Ouyang Cheng, Marketing Manager at Vicot Solar Technology, said that half of the collector field had already been completed in 2017 and that the remaining 9,000 m² would be set up this year. The collector field will run on thermal oil and will be connected to a district heating system. Vicot said that it planned to install a molten salt storage tank and use electric boilers for backup.
Additionally, the Chinese-Danish joint venture Arcon-Sunmark Large-Scale Solar Systems Integration signed a contract with the local government to set up a SDH heating network in Langkazi county in Tibet. The system should provide solar district heating for 82,600 m² of floor area and meet 90 % of the yearly space heating demand in Langkazi, the town sharing its name with the county. The system, planned to be set up by November 2018, will consist of a 22,000 m² collector field, 15,000 m³ of pit storage and a 3 MW electric boiler. The sponsor of the pilot project is as well the China’s central government.
Since October 2016, a 75,000 m² parabolic trough collector field for district heat seems to have been operating in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in China. Ruicheng Zheng from the China Academy of Building Research said that she had heard about the system, but that all the information on it was only available online. On 28 December 2017, a news article appeared on sohu.com, one of China’s largest online media companies, stating that the system supplied a shopping centre and a development project known as ZhongCheng International City in the village of HongQing De, near Baotou. The journalist who interviewed the owners of the residential buildings and the shopping centre found customers satisfied with the solar space heating that the system provides.