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Low Carbon Power Generation
in Copenhagen
Part of our Low Carbon Copenhagen project ... project index >
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Solar power in Copenhagen
Although less developed as a renewable energy sector than wind, waste-to-energy or biomass, solar power generation is promoted in the Danish capital. One of the main drivers is the co-operative organization Solar City Copenhagen. The city has a number of exemplar building projects and schemes such as solar-powered parking ticket machines.
To generate electricity using the sun's radiation, you need photovoltaic cells — usually referred to as PVs. The cells are set up in panels, and the more sunlight that hits them the more electricity is generated. To power something big, or multiple users, lots of panels are set up in arrays. So does Denmark have enough sunshine for solar power generation to be practical?
Yes it does. Copenhagen, for example, has 18 hours of daylight in summer and seven hours in winter, which gives it an annual solar resource of about 975kWh per sq m. Though bright sunshine provides more energy, PV cells produce electricity even when it's cloudy. The ideal set-up for solar panels in Denmark is to face them south and incline them at an angle of between 45-60 degrees.
Power generation in Copenhagen
Solar City Copenhagen was set up in 2004 by Copenhagen Municipality, the Danish Energy Authority, Copenhagen Energy, Valby neighbourhood council and a group of private companies. Its aims are to "establish Copenhagen as a demonstration centre for solar energy systems and energy optimization" and to contribute to renewable energy supply and CO2 emission reduction through promotion of solar power generation. It has developed an action plan, runs workshops and conferences, and supports pilot projects.
There are a number of localised solar-related projects in Copenhagen, including (see right hand column) the Kollektivhuset building-integration scheme in Hans Knudsens Plads and the Carlsberg district scheme. There are also small-scale systems that feed electricity back to the grid, such as the those at Copenhagen University College of Engineering, Tivoli amusement park and Heimdalsgade School. There is even a solar-powered ice cream vending cart!
An example of the solar city in action is the network of solar-powered pay-and-display parking ticket machines. There are 1,600 of these, each with a 15W solar panel charging a 75A battery, all connected to online monitoring.
Outside Copenhagen, Denmark has larger PV installations. For example, the Marstal district heating plant on the island of Aerø in the Baltic Sea is one of the world's largest solar heating projects. It has 18,365 sq m of solar panels and supplies one-third of the town's total power.
Solar cells are made using silicon, which is an abundant natural element. However, producing the very thin layers needed for PVs is expensive and efficiency in operation is typically only around 17%. The Danish National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy in Roskilde, just west of Copenhagen, has been developing polymer solar cells that can be printed onto plastic film. While they can be 10 times less efficient and have a shorter life than crystalline silicon cells, they are very much cheaper and faster to produce. Trials are ongoing.
It is estimated that there are more than 30,000 solar heating-related installations in Denmark. The larger arrays are often connected to biomass-powered district heating systems as supplementary power sources. However, the focus so far in Copenhagen has largely been on stand-alone fittings, such light standards, and the retro-fitting of residential buildings ..... next >
Top links
Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy   www.folkecenter.net
Solar Cells in Denmark : 2009 article, plus lots of other solar power information
Solar City Copenhagen   www.solarcitycopenhagen.dk
Co-operative organisation set up to establish Copenhagen as a demonstration centre for solar energy systems and energy optimization
Marstal District Heating   www.solarmarstal.dk
Home page for the Marstal solar array on the island of Aerø
Risø: DTU : National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy   www.risoe.dk
Technical University of Denmark : includes info on printable polymer solar cells
EnergyMap   www.energymap.dk
Danish internet portal for energy- and climate-related solutions
E-architect : Copenhagen Harbour LM Project   www.e-architect.co.uk
Case study: twin towers linked by bridges, powered by PVs and wind energy
Kollektivhuset, Hans Knudsens Plads   www.pvnord.org/kollektivhuset.pdf
Case study : apartment block solar heating scheme (pdf)
Renewable Energy, Danish Solutions   www.ens.dk/renewable_energy_danish-solutions.pdf
Description of various renewable energy strategies and facilities in Denmark (pdf)
YouTube   www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFDn6eTV0jQ
How solar panels can be used for domestic heat and power
YouTube   www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mCTSV2f36A
How solar panels work
A tour around Danish and Spanish solar projects ...
introduction •  wind power •  waste-to-energy •  solar power •  geothermal power • 
biomass technologies •  other technologies •  sources
key facts  •  urban planning timeline  •  pedestrianisation timeline  •  Denmark timeline
images  Jane Joyce
sources and references  see sources
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Hans Knudsens Plads, Copenhagen
project  building-integrated PVs
owner  De Vanføres Boligselskab
architect  DOMUS arkitekter a/s
energy consultant  Esbensen A/S
project value  25,000 Kroner
PV scheme  2002 - 2005
approx peak solar power  12kW
approx annual solar power  10,000kW
A highly visible award-winning demonstration project of building-integrated PVs in central Copenhagen. Kollektivhuset is a 1950s concrete frame 11-storey block containing 224 serviced apartments for disabled people. As part of a façade renovation project, its open balconies have been glazed and a new façade system installed. PV panels are incorporated, providing heat and electricity.
The facade system includes sliding panes for window openings and sliding back-plates for the PV panels for individual adjustment by residents so they can decide how much heating (or cooling) they get at various times.
More solar-powered projects
Carlsberg district scheme
Valby, Copenhagen
Carlsberg Brewery closed its production site in Valby in 2008 in favour of new low-rise high-density district, re-using its historic buildings and focusing on sustainable solutions. Features are to include rainwater harvesting, green roofs and the use of recycled materials as well as integrated solar systems. The long term aim is for a carbon neutral community of around 3,000 residences.
see  www.cphx.dk
LM Harbour Gateway scheme
Copenhagen Harbour
Winner of a design competition and already winning design awards is Stephen Holl Architects' scheme for twin towers linked by a cable-stayed bridge on the Copenhagen waterfront. Still at concept design stage, the buildings' glazed curtain walls are to incorporate PV cells connected to a seawater heating/cooling system for the floor slabs and ceilings. Roof-top wind turbines are to power the lighting.
see  www.e-architect.co.uk