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What is solar thermal energy and what uses does it have in homes?

By Energy Hamd - December 09, 2021

 

What is solar thermal energy and what uses does it have in homes?
What is solar thermal energy and what uses does it have in homes?

What is solar thermal energy and what uses does it have in homes?

You can save up to 65% on domestic hot water


    Solar thermal energy is a renewable energy obtained from the sun and is basically used to heat the water in the house. Also called solar thermal energy, this can be installed both in single-family homes and in blocks of flats, achieving great savings in the energy cost of the domestic hot water used for showers, bathrooms, the dishwasher or washing dishes,


        1. Differences with photovoltaics

    Both energies have in common the use of the sun's rays, although while solar thermal energy concentrates sunlight to convert it into heat, photovoltaic technology converts solar radiation into electricity.


        2. How does solar thermal energy work?

    Solar thermal energy systems have plates through which a fluid circulates, usually water with glycol so that it does not freeze, and which, under the effect of solar radiation, heat up to temperatures around 70º C. This hot fluid passes through a coil in a domestic hot water tank (DHW) and the water is heated in such a way that when it enters the boiler it is already hot and it does not not light up, or it needs little energy to finish warming up ”. On the other hand, it must be taken into account that the plates that are installed outdoors fit perfectly into flat and inclined roofs.


        3. Uses in homes

    "The main use of solar thermal energy for homes is to heat domestic hot water and as a heating medium, but it is also used in swimming pool heating, explains Gergely, who adds:" it can be used as support in systems. heating by radiators or underfloor heating by water. By using energy stored in thermal form, from a completely renewable source at times, the consumption of fossil fuels can be completely eliminated ”.



        4. Works at low temperature

    The two experts agree to point out that electricity cannot be produced in home systems and this is due to the fact that low-temperature solar thermal energy is installed in homes (both in single-family homes and in buildings) (up to 65-70 ° C).

    In other types of buildings, thermal solar energy is used which transforms heat into electrical energy, it is high temperature solar thermal energy which operates above 500º C.


        4. High efficiency

    Solar thermal panels currently on the market convert over 95% of sunlight into energy. This is a much higher level of efficiency than that offered by photovoltaic equipment when it comes to capturing the heat from the sun's rays. This means that "it makes it possible to produce hot water even on cold and cloudy days, provided there is a minimum of solar radiation", specifies Gergely.

    Regarding other renewable energies, it is like geothermal energy, whose performance is not affected by low temperatures, unlike, for example, aerothermal energy, which decreases.


        5. Benefits of betting on solar thermal energy

    Solar thermal energy equipment converts solar radiation into heat. As Gergely specifies, “solar thermal energy is a renewable, sustainable and inexhaustible source of energy, which is free, does not emit CO2, reduces our dependence on fossil / nuclear energy, reduces the negative effects of price fluctuations in commodity markets and can be integrated into existing facilities ”.


        6. Sustainable bet

    The minimum contribution of energy from renewable sources at least 60% of the annual energy demand for domestic hot water in buildings where the building's daily consumption is less than 5,000 liters per day at 60º C and at least 70% of the annual energy demand for DHW in buildings with a daily consumption of the building greater than 5000 liters per day at 60º C '. This renewable energy source may be different now, but solar thermal will continue to be one of the options to be taken into account when analyzing each project and especially in the case of high-rise housing with high demand. daily in domestic hot water ”.


        7. What is the price and what are the savings?

    For a 200 square meter single-family house in which four members reside, a two-panel power plant is sufficient. The cost also depends on the technology used. The most basic, for around 1,500 € can be in operation. Others more advanced, such as the automatic drainage system which protects the panels by filling them with thermal fluid only when necessary, can reach 5,000 €. And there are subsidies to install it, since it is a renewable energy.

    For its part, "with a solar thermal system, you can save up to 65% of the energy cost to heat the water", explains Gergely. Savings on the bill which are also good for the environment since solar thermal energy does not generate toxic waste that is difficult to eliminate or treat; nor does it emit CO2 gas into the atmosphere.





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