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Challenge / Goal

For existing buildings, district heating could provide an efficient solution for the decarbonization of heat demand. In order to diversify primary energy sources and increase the share of renewable energies, solar thermal energy represents a building block for the design of Positive Energy Districts (PED). By exploiting the local potential of the site, the plant size marks one of the largest projects in Germany. Thus, we are able to demonstrate the large-scale integration of solar thermal heat into district heating grids. 
The plant will be constructed in two stages. In the first stage, the plant will be used to generate approximately 13 GWh/a of solar heat. The total area available makes an extension of 25 GWh/a feasible.


The first steps of the team and its external partners were to create a feasibility study, find suitable locations, and conclude the conceptual design phase. Following this phase, tenders for solar plant suppliers will be tendered and official approval by the city will be obtained. In the final phase, the solar thermal plant and its auxiliary facilities will be built and commissioned and the integration into the district heating grid will commence. Upon successfully completing the monitoring phase, the new solar thermal plant will be handed over to the operation and service team. We apply a techno-economic model for the demonstration district. Customer groups are clustered according to the demonstration district borders. The data regarding the energy balance has to be collected for the demand side. Current heat supply technologies will be added for the status quo scenario. For the green scenario, different amounts of solar heat are added to the system

Citizen participation

The approval process of the project involved a public display for the receiving of feedback, as well as information events for all new additional project steps.


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Time period

Planning time: 2 to 5 years

Implementation time: 2 to 5 years


SPARCS; City of Leipzig

Service providers

Leipziger Stadtwerke; Leipzig University; City of Leipzig

End users

District Citizens

    Main benefits

  • Efficient integration of renewables

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