Solar heating produces hot water by heat interchange between the water in the solar plates and the water we are going to consume. No electricity is generated during this process. Solar Thermal Energy is used in single homes, apartment buildings, sports facilities, etc...
Solar heating is one of the more practical applications within the urban future to lower the emission of polluting gases and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The materials, design and installation are the costs of a solar system, since it requires no fuel for their operation and maintenance costs are very low, unlike conventional heating systems. The basic operation of all solar thermal systems is simple: it captures the sunlight and heat is transferred to a heat carrier fluid (water or air). An installation of solar thermal concentrates the heat of the sun accumulated in a few panels called collectors and transmitting from one place to another without the use of electricity, unlike the photovoltaic plates.
A profitable solution and easy, to obtain hot water for free: with a simple installation, 100% of the hot water consumption of a home, even in winter, can be obtained, saving energy and money.
Solar heating costs up to 55% less than using gas or gasoil for heating. We, at Soliclima, have designed an integral solution to reduce a great number of costs. With the use of the best equipment and the best technology in heating, we have achieved efficient and long lasting installations.
The application of solar systems within the industry, can produce great benefits and facilitate, to a large extent, the process through which the elaboration of a product must pass.
Solar heating is the most extended use of solar thermal energy. Solar thermal energy has in domestic application three main uses:
· water heating
· domestic heating
· indoors or outdoors heating.
To apply Solar heating means a saving that can reach, in the case of hot water, up to 100% during the whole year. When we use Solar heating to produce domestic heating, only aprox. 60% of energy demand is covered. Facilities are not programed to cover 100% of energy demand for various reasons. Main reason is not worth to spend the money of a 100% facility, then we use it only during 3 months of the year. There are tecnical reasons as well. Such a potent installation would cause excess of energy during summer, and that could damage the installation.
Most extended use of solar thermal energy at the present is producing domestic hot water and heating, but there are more a more companies interested on it. Specially hotels, restaurants, hospitals, sport halls and other comunity installatios. There are some companies located on factories that also show interest, using a solar thermal facility to produce solar hot water for their showers.
Solar heating has only advantages. These are some of them:
Air conditioning of swimming pools by solar energy is one of the options offered by this renewable. In the picture we see a facility like this, with a thermal blanket to prevent heat dissipation during the night.
Solar heating is the wider use of solar energy usage. One could almost say that solar heating is the solar home par excellence. In fact, every new building is required to cover a percentage of your hot water by solar fraction called the entry into force of the new Technical Code for Construction in 2006 in Spain, Europe.
All those buildings already built before that date are not in complete reform, will receive grants for the installation of such solar applications.
Solar heating in the home offers three main applications:
· Water heating
· Domestic heating production
• The air conditioning of indoor or outdoor pools.
Apply of solar heating saves that in the case of hot water can be from 95 to 100% of energy throughout the year. In the case of using solar energy for heating, can cover 60% of energy demand. Facilities are not performed for cover 100% of heating demand in winter for several reasons. The main one is that the cost savings involved in solar energy would not be such, as a facility sized for this purpose would be more expensive and the payback period would be longer. The other is technical. A solar installation would only be exploited as potent for three or four months a year, wasting all that energy during the rest of the time. Additionally, excess heat in summer could cause overheating problems.
The most widespread use of solar heating at the moment is certainly the domestic hot water generation and heating, but increasingly companies interested in this resource. Especially in the hospitality business, with high consumption of hot water, hospitals, civic centers, sports centers and other community facilities are increasingly interested in solar thermal. Companies also housed in the industrial estates increasingly used to heat water for showers for their employees.
But solarheating has more uses. It is sometimes used in industrial processes, maily cleaning processes. In developing countries, solar cookers have been often the only energy source that many families have had to cook, due to unreliable energy supply or lack of firewood. To cover this need, a solar concentrator was specially designed to cook in developing countries, in fixed kitchens. This concentrator is easy to build with local materials. Kitchen in indian temple Tirupati offers 18.000 meals daily. They are cooked using this concentrators, called Scheffler, like the german physicist that designed it. Scheffler reflector has wided its use, and many industries use it in developing countries to generate hot water for its industrial processes.
There are different systems for solar thermal energy. Here is a brief summary.
1. Solar heaters: the most simple one. It works total mechanically, without electricity for pumps or controls, so it is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way of generation solar hot water. This simplicity has its counterpart, then it is also the most limitated one. It cannot generate domestic heating and it can only provide hot water for a maximal of 4 persons. Water deposit is intefrated in the same collector, and it doesn't need an engine room to work.
2. Polipropilene panels. They are only used for swimming pool heating. They are single pieces of black plastic, very easy to install. Its installation is equally easy and fast and they allow to enlarge bath season in outdoors swimming pools, so you can use them during spring and fall, when outside temperature is good but pool water is to cold.
3. Flat solar collectors. They are the most common and widely used. They are ulitizated both for hot water production and domestic heating. Its use is complexer as the other two. They need own hydraulic circuits, and an engine room as well. Solar panels are crossed by an hydraulic circuit. Water flowing through it is heated in the solar panels and arrives to an accumulator, a water deposit specially isolated to avoid heat losses, like a vacuum bottle. The water circuit inside the house comes into this deposit; so does heating circuit, when we want to have solar heating as well. It is in this deposit where heat exchange is made between solar circuit and drinking water ( and heating system) circuit.
4. Vacuum tubes collectors. Vacuum tubes collectors are high performance solar panels that are used for solar heating, but also there where a big consumption is made, or where the roof has no optimal orientation. For the rest, they work just the same as flat collectors.
5. Solar thermal-photovoltaic concentrator. Solar concentrator for domestic use is a recient innovation. It consists on a concentrator device of solar rays that increases dramatically the performance of the panels. But this is not the most remarkable feature of this panels. They are able to produce both, heat and electricity in only one concentrator. This has several advantages. In dwellings with connection to electrical grid, users can apply solar heat at their homes and sale the produced electricity. For those without connection, this product resolves at once their energy supply problem.
Solar energy facility in multi sport facility in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Domestic solar solutions have a tank where the solar heat exchange between the plates and drinking water takes place. When the tank is greater than 1000 liters, the exchange occurs on the outside, through a plate exchanger, which is what we saw in the second image.