Solar space heating and cooling for Spanish housing: potential energy savings and emissions reduction Articles uri icon


  • MARCOS, J.D.
  • Parra, D.

publication date

  • November 2011

start page

  • 2622

end page

  • 2641


  • 11


  • 85

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0038-092X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-1257


  • An experimental solar energy facility was designed to meet as much of the heating demand in a typical Spanish dwelling as possible. With a view to using the facility during the summer and preventing overheating-induced deterioration of the solar collectors in that season of the year, an absorption chiller was fitted to the system to produce solar-powered air conditioning. The facility operated in solar space heating mode in the winter of 2008&-2009 and in cooling mode during the summer of 2008. The design was based on a new type of flat plate vacuum solar collectors that delivered higher efficiency than conventional panels. This type of collectors can reach temperatures of up to 110 °C in the summer and up to 70 °C on the coldest winter days. The solar facility comprised a 48-m2 (with a net area of 42 m2) solar collector field, a 25-kW plate heat exchanger, a 1500-l storage tank, a 4.5-kW (Rotartica) air-cooled absorption chiller and several fan coils. The facility was tested by using it to heat and cool an 80-m2 laboratory located in Madrid. As the average area of Spanish homes is 80 m2, the findings were generally applicable to national housing. The solar facility was observed to be able to meet 65.3% of the space heating demand. For air conditioning, the system covered 46% of the demand, but with high indoor temperatures. In other words, the collector field was found to be able to air condition only half of the home (40 m2). Lastly, the savings in CO2 emissions afforded by the use of this facility compared to conventional air conditioning were calculated, along with its amortisation period. These results have been extrapolated calculating the potential energy savings and emissions reduction for all the Spanish households.