Design of consumer thermal substations for the integration of distributed solar technologies in District Heating systems

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Substation with indirect preparation of DHW, and compatible DHW storage tank (Source: METRO THERM).

In most cases, building service designers choose between Solar thermal (ST) and District Heating (DH) technologies for their integration in buildings. By doing so, only a fraction of the buildings within a particular district is used for ST, while at the same time energy intensity in DH networks can be reduced. In some cases, building-integrated solar thermal systems are connected to DH networks by means of dedicated pipes. In all these cases, sub-optimal situations are reached with lower fraction of renewable heat, reduced network strength and/or additional heat losses.


In this paper, a consummer substation concept is proposed with reversible heat flow and net metering, which avoids local thermal storage in the solar loop. Adaptations required for multi-dwelling buildings are presented. This concept of substation for the connection of Solar Thermal into District Heating networks, will be developed within RELaTED project.


Authors: Victor Sanchez and Roberto Garay, of Tecnalia


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 768567.