This paper presents a social, economic and environmental study on a novel solar-powered zero-bill rural house space heating system compared to the conventional coal-powered and gas-powered systems. The system can significantly reduce the fossil fuel consumption, and reach to zero-bill operation, thus decreasing the operation charge and air pollution. By using the established model, the research analyses the energy performance of the novel zero-bill solar-powered system under a typical northern China weather condition (Taiyuan city). Then, it compares the economic and environmental performances between three space heating systems. It is found that, for a 100m2 typical rural house, the total heat demand is 8081kWh during the heating season. According to the local feed-in tariff, 0.75RMB/kWh , the PV model can earn 1297.2RMB per year, which is higher than the annual system electricity bill, 732.48RMB, and thus the novel system can reach to zero-bill and zero energy consumption. When it comes to economic analysis, due to the zero-bill and zero energy consumption characteristics, the system has a cost payback period of 14.8 years and a life-cycle net cost saving of 17573RMB compared with the coalpowered system. In contrast with the gas-powered system, the system has a cost payback period of around 5.9 years and a life-cycle net cost saving of 52723RMB. Furthermore, under the view of environment, one set system can annually save 1320kg standard coal or 1022.39m3 natural gas. Besides, it also annually reduces the 897.6kg harmful dust, 3220.8kg CO2, 99kg SO2 and 49.5kg NOx compared to the most environmentally contaminated coal-powered system. The widely use of the novel solar-powered system can enormously help to improve the living standard of the residents staying in a wide range of rural areas in northern China, and thus the system can harvest greater social, environmental and economic benefits subsequently.
Keywords Zero-bill, Solar-powered, Space heating, Social, economic and environmental analysis