Hybrid Solar Thermal Energy System for District Heating Application

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Solar district heating (SDH) systems can be good alternatives to conventional systems when they are optimized with hybrid configurations and thermal energy storage (TES). In this scope, a hybrid renewable thermal energy system (RTES) model has been built combining flat plate collector (FPC) solar system with parabolic trough collector (PTC) system via a heat exchanger and coupled with TES. To undertake the hybridization of the system, System Advisor Model (SAM) software was modified, which allowed control over configurations and more accurate modelling of heat transfer between the collectors. The model is first compared to an existing hybrid solar district heating systems (DHS) system in Taars, Denmark. The results showed a good correlation with an overestimation of only 6.4% compared to most recent heat output. Then the same system configuration was modeled in different geographic locations to investigate the impact of changes in direct normal irradiance (DNI) to the heat sink thermal output of the hybrid system. The results showed that the annual net thermal power output in California, USA can be three times more than the annual net thermal power output in Taars, Denmark. Finally, multiple hybrid configurations with varying solar field sizes were simulated based on the heat demand of two different university campuses DHS. The results showed that, retrofit applications of this hybrid DHS system coupled with TES could reduce the natural gas consumption of the existing systems between 25% and 41%. The use of hybrid RTES highlighted in this paper can be extended to many more opportunities.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2024
EventSolarPACES 2022 - Albuqueque NM
Duration: 26 Sep 202230 Sep 2022


ConferenceSolarPACES 2022
CityAlbuqueque NM

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-7A40-83445


  • district heating
  • hybrid systems
  • solar thermal
  • thermal energy storage


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