Several bioenergy villages with combined biomass and solar heat supply are being realized at the moment in Germany. The idea of solar thermal integration in district heating networks is spreading in rural areas.
In Mengsberg, the largest collector field in a bioenergy village is planned with 3000 m² high-temperature flat-plate collectors. After four years of pre-planning, the contract was signed in April between the local energy cooperative and the company Viessmann, which will deliver the 9 km district heating network with approximately 150 connections turn-key.Also in the region of Lake Constance, more bioenergy villages should be inaugurated until the end of the year. Solarcomplex AG from Singen is realizing a second solar district heating plant in Randegg following the model of the pioneer village of Büsingen. The village of Randegg with 1000 inhabitants is supplied by a biomass boiler since 2009, and 2000 m² solar thermal collectors will now complement the heat supply. In the same region the utility of Radolfzell is planning a district heating network with solar thermal integration. The first pipes will be installed over the summer.

In Rheinland-Pfalz, where a plant was inaugurated last year in Neuerkirch-Külz, the diggers are at work again in the neighboring village of Ellern. Also this district heating network should be supplied by approximately 1200 m² solar thermal collectors. The impulse came from the village itself, and the project group was innovative regarding the communication campaign to reach enough connections for the district heating network to be built: a heat consumption calculator was made available online and ten interested citizens were specifically trained, so that they could inform and convince their neighbors.

At the end of April already, the plant of Hallerndorf (largest in Bavaria) was inaugurated with a public celebration. The operator is the green electricity supplier Naturenergie AG.

In all the new solar-bioenergy villages, the solar plants are dimensioned to cover the complete heat demand in the summer months. Additionally, home owners who decide to connect to the village’s heat supply get free connection to the high-speed internet.

Guido Bröer