There are already numerous small-scale solar energy collectors on the roofs of buildings in many cities in China, which are used to provide domestic hot water in most circumstances. However, these separated small-scale solar energy collectors usually do not work sufficiently as expected, particularly for fear of pipe freezing crack in severe cold winter. On the other hand, these distributed small-scale solar energy collectors would have very convenient access to local district heating system. Hence, the buildings can consume the thermal energy from local district heating system and simultaneously produce heat to local district heating system when the solar energy collectors on their roofs are available. Therefore, the buildings can become solar heat prosumers to local district heating system. In this study, a configuration on solar heat prosumers is proposed to integrate with a general district heating system. Then a thermo-hydraulic model is developed to simulate the energy performance of distributed small-scale solar heat prosumers in district heating system. The proposed model is validated in a real life case study in a north Chinses city. The simulation results showed that the solar energy penetration was about 13% of the total heat consumption in heating season of 120 days.
Keywords energy performance, district heating, solar energy, solar collector, prosumer