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Self-Managed Solar Thermal Plant

Self-Managed Solar Thermal Plant

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Self-Managed Solar Thermal Plant

131 pages
1 hour
Jul 4, 2017


Have you ever thought about a solar plant for reducing fuel consumption and costs for heating of your home and the impact on the climate? I hope so, but this good intention should also take into account some factors that concern, besides the cost, also maintenance and management of facilities.
This guide is intended for everybody, especially for non-professionals.
In this way I would like to help those who, like me, found themselves in trouble with the ordinary operations, despite the support of artisans and vendors. But also help those who have to decide whether and how to proceed with the project, providing useful elements of assessment for the construction of the plant.
In this way I hope to encourage the implementation and diffusion of solar plants and in general the use of energy from renewable sources.
Jul 4, 2017

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Self-Managed Solar Thermal Plant - Pasquale Pizzichetti


—Table of contents


Author’s notes


How the story began

A house to modernize

How much heat does my house loose (or need)?

How can I find an answer?

I cannot do this alone

How much help can the sun give us?

OK, but where do we start from?

What do the regulations prescribe?

Producing hot water with the sun

Most common plants

Solar thermal plant with natural circulation

Solar thermal plant with forced circulation

Other systems to efficiently produce hot water

Composition of a solar thermal plant

Typical problems of a solar thermal plant

Ask for specialized assistance

Managing a plant with forced circulation

Possible interventions to make the system better

Having the situation under control

Control units

Monitoring the plant

Solar collectors - installation

Financial incentives for new plants

Recovering an old solar plant


About the author

Other publications of the author



This e-book has been created by the member of the EnergoClub Pasquale Pizzichetti and it is a beautiful testimony of the steps that are needed in the long and fascinating – and not yet finished – journey that will bring his family to live in a zero energy consumption house, that is to say in a house that will use net electricity and natural gas only a few days a year or maybe never more. This is the dream of all energy lovers: to be independent for electrical and thermal energy and not only, also for individual transport, and Pasquale, step-by-step, intervention after intervention, is succeeding in his goal. This e-book presents to the readers the experience that Pasquale is developing in his house, the observations, and the expedients that he used to get the maximum advantage from the systems for the production of domestic hot water. The e-book contains a lot of useful information and data for people who are in doubt whether to install a solar thermal plant or a heat pump, in order to produce their own hot water for domestic use, or for the house appliances, or even for cooking. These suggestions are also important for another basic reason, which is often mentioned in the down points for solar thermal plants compared to heating pumps combined with photovoltaic plant. Once the solar thermal plant is installed, it needs continuous surveillance, or at least very frequent controls. You should have a real passion for this kind of energy systems. If you don’t, it is better to forget the solar thermal plant and choose a heat pump instead. Animal lovers know well that having a dog is not the same thing as having a cat. Dogs need more care and a continuous presence of man, unlike cats. A dog depends totally on its owners, but it is not so for a cat. So you can compare the solar thermal plant to a dog, while the heat pump with a photovoltaic plant is more like a cat. I hope this analogy makes you understand what kind of disposition you should have to live with your own choices and not be too stressed by them. The question that carries you through the e-book from the first to the last page is: how much is it convenient to have a solar thermal plant? The answer is really not easy and Pasquale can give you a good starting point and some ideas. On this subject I’m often asked to give examples connected to reality and the example that better fits, in my opinion, is the one of how to cook spaghetti for four people. The energy normally spent to boil water at 100°C using gas (any gas: natural gas or LPG liquefied petroleum gas) is about 1 kWh. If you had the possibility to use water that has already been heated by the sun at 50-60°C, you could save about 50% of the energy. This is not the only situation we have in a house: the dish washing machine could work with low energy-consuming programs almost without using hot water coming from the central heating system that uses fossil fuel; the same thing for the washing machine for clothes and for the shower and even for pre-heating the water entering the hot water boiler. In all these cases the quantity of water could be from 2 to 5 times higher than the quantity of water used for our spaghetti pot. Considering that we are in Italy and that spaghetti is the national dish, it is very easy to realize that by using a solar thermal plant or a heating pump combined with a photovoltaic plant, the cost for cooking will be reduced of at least 150-200 thermal kWh per year, while that for the washing machines will be close to zero if you use low temperature (65°C) washing cycles. For shower and bath the consumption would be almost completely covered with the solar thermal plant (exception made for the coldest days of the year), while it would be fully covered in the case of a heat pump combined with a photovoltaic plant. Preheating the water entering the boiler is another way to further reduce the energy bill. Considering this and that, a family could reduce its own electrical energy consumption of about 500 kWh, saving about 100..125 € per year, while the thermal consumption for hot water of showers and baths will be about 250..300 € per year lower, compared to natural gas heating. The e-book is above all useful for the suggestions given on interventions and management of the plant that can be done without help, even if, for some interventions that need

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