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Combined System of Heating Water in Residential Houses using Thermal Solar Panels and Ground Thermal


Thermal solar panels and ground thermal heating pumps are two sources of thermal energy that are currently used in residential houses to provide thermal heat for bathing. These thermal heat sources are presently used independently for different reasons. This research proposes the combined system of heating water in residential house by both thermal solar panels and ground thermal heating pumps. The objective of combining the two systems is to provide more sustainable and reliable source of hot water without being affected by climate conditions such as during winter season when solar energy is not reliable.

• To assess the components and operating principles of both thermal solar panel and ground thermal heating pumps.

• To assess the performance of combined system of thermal solar panels and ground thermal heating pumps.

Thermal solar panels entail the use of solar PV to absorb the heat from the sun and then transferring it to the water which can then be used in residential houses for bathing. The absorbed heat by the solar panels is used in pre-heating the water in a storage cylinder. The major components of thermal solar panel include controller, tank, pump, and collector. Controller senses temperature differences between water in the storage tank neat the heat exchanger and the water leaving the solar collector. The pump is started by the controller when the water in the collector is about 9oC warmer that the tank water, and stopes it when the difference in temperature reaches 4oC. Solar thermal collector trap and retain heat from the sun then utilize it in heating water. Pump forces the flow of water.

A ground thermal heating pumps is a geothermal heating system for removing heat from the ground and then transferring this heat to residential areas at a higher temperatures. Heat pumps operate on similar principles as refrigerators by extracting the heat from the contents of the refrigerators and then transferring it at the back to the grill. Both ground thermal heating pumps and thermal solar panels can be combined within a house to provide reliable and efficient source of thermal energy. The major components of ground thermal heating pump include ductwork, coil, heat transfer medium, and heat pump. 

The proposed combined system entails both Thermal solar panels and ground thermal heating pumps operating concurrently to ensure continuous supply of hot water in residential houses. This ground-source heat pump system assisted with solar panels have been scrutinized recently by different researchers and it can be deduced that coupling the two systems result in higher system performance. Control and performance of this system is believed to be quite reliable according to various artificial intelligence and analytical simulation models.

This ground heat pump system assisted with solar panels can achieve higher system performance and effectively maintain the soil temperature balance effectively compared to the conventional systems.

The major shortcoming of this combined system is the cost of installation and operations. This is because the costs involved is twice the cost of each system. However, this increased cost cannot match the benefits accrued.

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