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Solar thermal energy

 

Solar thermal energy is one of the most natural and sustainable forms of heat production. Tested over decades, solar thermal energy can be used for heating water and rooms, for cooling or dehumidifying ambient air, for process heating and for drying purposes; and, crucially, it reduces energy costs for heat production.

 

Applications

The area of application for solar thermal energy is extensive – from simply heating tap water in single- and two-family houses, in combi-systems that are used not only as hot-water systems but also to heat buildings, in solar thermal cooling systems and process heating systems. The use of solar thermal energy in apartment blocks, hospitals, hostels, hotels and in industry is becoming more and more important.

 

Technology


Solar thermal energy systems for domestic water heating in a detached house:
1) Collector
2) Solar storage tank
3) Boiler
4) Solar station with integrated solar switch
5) Hot water consumer (e.g. shower).
There are two types of solar thermal energy systems for residential buildings: Those that are used only to heat tap water and those that also help to heat rooms. The latter are called 'combi-system'.

 

Systems for heating tap water


These systems are typically designed to heat all domestic water throughout the summer period. In the winter months, the hot water is heated mainly by a heat generator (a boiler, usually operated with gas, oil, wood or a heat pump), which is supported by the solar thermal energy system on sunny days. This means that around 60 per cent of the annual heating requirements for heating water are provided by the solar thermal energy system. The collector area required to do so depends on the weather conditions in the country in question.

 

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