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Solar Heating, Key to Combating Climate Change?

A study shows that the installation of centralized solar heating plants makes it possible to achieve an exploitation of renewable energy of over 90% in all climatic zones, being key to combating global warming.

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A study shows that the installation of centralized solar heating plants makes it possible to achieve an exploitation of renewable energy of over 90% in all climatic zones, being key to combating global warming.

Solar heating, as its name suggests, is a system that allows you to take advantage of the sun’s rays to convert them into electrical or thermal energy. In a period in which more than ever it is essential to seek energy alternatives that are more economical, sustainable and responsible with the environment, thousands of experts put their finger on the benefits of solar heating, inexhaustible, non-polluting, easy to maintain and that after a high investment provides a great long-term performance.

The benefits of this system, which works through solar panels responsible for capturing the radiation and converting it into thermal energy, are not only environmental – since the emission of greenhouse gases is considerably reduced – but also economic, at a time when the that the pockets of the consumer suffer due to continuous years of increases in the receipt of electricity, especially in countries such as Spain. The implementation of this system, as underlined by Ecoticias, requires solar collectors, tanks for the storage of hot water and optimal management of the heating system.

The centralized solar heating plants accumulate the excess solar thermal energy of the summer for use during the winter months. As paradoxical and counterproductive as it may seem, countries with more hours of sunshine do not use this method, which is popular in central and northern Europe, as well as in other countries such as Canada.

A study reveals that solar heating would significantly reduce global warming
Researchers from the SUSCAPE group (Sustainable Computer Aided Process Engineering) of the URV have led a study on the operation of centralized solar heating plants in different climatic zones to check the benefits under different conditions. For this they have carried out simulations in each zone: in the South of Europe in Athens and Madrid), in the center in Berlin or in the north in Helsinki.

To analyze the operation of this heating class, buildings have been simulated with a total of one thousand homes, optimizing the installation to guarantee heating operation without the need to use natural gas during most months of higher demand. While in systems using solar thermal energy the volume of hot water stored per square meter of plate is about 100 liters, in solar heating plants the volume per square meter of plate reaches 7,000 liters of water.

Heat pump heating would reduce pollution by 50% in several cities

The usual thing is that the stored heat is used until February or March and then complemented by a small support of natural gas. The analysis of the researchers confirms that the environmental impact is significantly less with this system than with natural gas. In relation to the greenhouse effect, the reduction of the impact is 70%.

The equipment and the initial investment vary according to the characteristics of the climate: the area of ​​solar collectors estimated for Madrid is 7,000 square meters, while for Helsinki it should be more than 30,000 m2. The respective volume of storage would be 65,000 cubic meters and 230,000 cubic meters.

The analyzed system is economically viable, much more effective than individual thermal energy storage systems for homes, which use water in the short term. Given the urgency of an energy transition to a mix based on renewables, this is emerging as a weight option with many integers to heat homes.

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