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Solar panels for supplementing the heating of spaces

In order for a solar panel system using thermal collectors to heat a home, in addition to providing hot water, it is important to know that:

1. the house should be equipped with a low temperature heating system. This is usually achieved by means of radiant panels (pipes under the floor or walls where water flows at 30-35 ° C).

2. the coverage percentage of the thermal energy demand required for heating the house is as big as the surface area of the solar panels and the size of the tank.

It is not usually possible to completely heat a house using just thermal panels, a boiler is always necessary, but the use of a solar system allows a much lower consumption of fuel such as gas or diesel.

Diagram of system for heating spaces

Let’s find out how the plants work by following the diagram.

Inside the solar storage tank (A) is another tank (double boiler) the shape of a mushroom which contains water for ongoing use. The water that covers the “mushroom tank” goes to the floor heating tubes (B), enabling rooms to be heated. When the solar system is insufficient the traditional boiler is activated. This boiler will, in turn, consume far less.

Why must thermal systems be combined with low temperature systems?

Solar panels guarantee hot water at an average temperature which is perfect for low temperature radiant systems. The radiant systems found in floors, walls or baseboards are much more efficient than systems that use high temperatures which are usually found in Italian homes (wall heaters, electric heaters or fan coils). The increased heat transfer surface area (hundreds of meters of pipe under floors or behind walls) enables the use of water at 30° -35°C (compared to the usual 60°-70° C, which is typical of wall heaters) .

It is important to know that:

1. since the room temperature remains below the body temperature it does not cause any blood circulation problems in the legs, as is often erroneously believed.

2. heat production systems (whether they be boilers or solar panels) are much more efficient, thus allowing significant savings in utility bills.

3. the indoor comfort which this type of heating provides is far better than the heating provided by wall heaters.

The combination of low temperature heating systems and solar panels is the best solution for heating the home both efficiently and economically.