The sun is an almost inexhaustible energy source that is available to us on a virtually unlimited scale – carbon neutral and free of charge. The sun radiates 960 billion kilowatt hours daily onto the Earth's surface. This amount of energy could theoretically meet the world's energy needs for 180 years.
Solar energy is currently used in private households in two different ways:
- Solar thermal energy is used for heating domestic water and heating support.
- 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.
Find out more about flat panel collectors from Vaillant
Find out more about vacuum tube collectors from Vaillant