Solar energy is currently used in private households in two different ways. It is used for heating domestic water and heating support and in solar cells the photovoltaic effect is used for the direct generation of electricity from sunlight.
The advantages of using solar thermal energy:
- Inexhaustible supply of solar energy
- Solar energy is free
- No CO2 emissions
- Can be integrated into existing installations
- You are less affected by price fluctuations in the commodity markets
Requirements that must be fulfilled by your home
- Suitable surfaces for solar collectors
- Collectors should face south where possible
- Free of shade throughout the day
- Expandable heating system
Solar thermal energy reduces your costs
Solar panels convert solar energy into heat. Commercially available flat plate collectors convert up to 95 per cent of the light into energy. In vacuum tube collectors, a mirror is integrated which concentrates the sunlight onto an absorber. These tube collectors achieve higher efficiency and even deliver heat under diffuse light conditions, for example, on a cloudy day.
After the solar energy is converted in the collectors, the heat is transferred via a fluid to a hot water cylinder in the building. A heat exchanger transfers the energy of the carrier fluid to the water in the tank. From there it can either be used on demand, even when the sun is not shining.
With a solar thermal system you can save up to 65 per cent of your energy costs for domestic water heating. Combined-cycle plants, which are also used for space heating, also reduce the annual heating energy requirement by about 20 to 30 per cent.
Find out more about flat panel collectors from Vaillant
Find out more about vacuum tube collectors from Vaillant
Solar thermal heating
Available energy sources
How different technologies work