In December 2010, the Solar Combisystems Promotion and Standardisation (CombiSol) project ended after running for three full years. The aim of the project was to expand the market development of Solar Combi Systems (SCS), which provide both space heating and domestic hot water, and to promote an improvement of the quality of systems installed. Project partners were the National Institute of Solar Energy – Education (INES Education), France, the Institute of Thermodynamics and Thermal Process Engineering (ITW) of the University of Stuttgart, Germany, French Environment and Energy Management Agency ADEME, PlanEnergi, Denmark, the Committee Renewable Energy at the Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE), Austria, and Dalarna University, Sweden.
“Solar combi systems are gaining importance in markets such as Germany and Austria. The project partners wanted to provide a basis for the effective application of SCS in European regions, throughout which these systems are not very common - despite very good climatic conditions,” Dr Harald Drück from ITW Stuttgart stated in an interview with German magazine “Sonne Wind & Wärme”. According to Drück, the main concern of the project was to make planners and installers familiar with the theoretical foundations and provide technology specific knowledge.
In addition, the project was to evaluate the market potential and possible energy savings of SCS. Over several months, a total of 70 systems was being analysed in the four partner countries Germany, Austria, France and Sweden. 45 of these 70 systems were selected for further in-situ monitoring. The following chart shows the thermal fractional energy savings per country. According to the project board, the results of these tests clearly proved that with SCS, significant energy savings could be achieved - provided the systems had been well planned and carefully installed. The researchers also pointed out that heat losses in different parts of the system play a main role when observing low performances.
To improve the quality of SCS, a set of guidelines for manufacturers and installers was developed. It is available for download on the project's homepage www.combisol.eu. "In these documents, we provide a number of valuable tips for installing the entire system and individual components. We also point out the importance of a correct installation and a detailed documentation of the SCS, which should be handed out to the plant owners," Drück said to “Sonne Wind & Wärme”.
All informative literature developed in the context of the CombiSol project are thought to increase the share of solar-generated heat significantly in the future.
This text was written by Stephanie Banse, a German journalist specialised on solar thermal technology. (firstname.lastname@example.org)