Solar Domestic Hot Water Design and Optimisation in the United Kingdom

Edward Hunt

Abstract


Solar energy is being increasingly implemented for domestic uses, such as hot water systems. However, the poor economic gains, particularly in cold climates and winter months, make this environmentally beneficial technology a less attractive investment. So far, research into optimising these designs have focussed on warmer climates and optimising the gains made during the summer months. Furthermore, most high budget research is geared towards industrial implementation which has limited use at the domestic, home-owner scale. To investigate an economically and energetically optimal domestic hot water system design for cold climates, mathematical methods and TRNSYS simulations were used to experiment with the parameters influencing efficiency. This was achieved by creating a parametric model to reveal losses experienced by the system. Next, a fully validated TRNSYS model was built to allow for experimentation from which the system could be adapted for cold climates. The key impact of this research will be to improve the affordability, such as rate of return, and appeal of solar domestic hot water systems for the public. Ultimately, developments such as this will reduce dependence upon fossil fuels in the United Kingdom, and other environmentally conscious nations, and allow large-scale implementation of sustainable technologies.

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ISSN 1754-2383 [Online] ©University of Plymouth