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Combining Solar Thermal & Geothermal Energy to Create Energy Storage

For those wishing to trap the heat of the summer for use in the winter, and vice versa, this is no longer an outlandish notion. Technology advances in the home heating industry have now allowed the combination of solar thermal and geothermal energy - the perfect energy storage system. Due to this, you no longer need to pay nightmarish electricity bills simply to remain comfortable through the summer and winter. This technology, however, still remains relatively unknown, precluding many from enjoying its benefits. 

solar thermal - geothermal

In light of this, our post takes a look at how to create energy storage by combining solar thermal and geothermal energy and the benefits of doing so. Continue reading for more!

How is energy storage created?

In terms of how energy is stored under this combined system, it all begins when solar thermal collectors trap heat from the sun, during the summer.

This heat is then injected into a water and alcohol or a water and glycol mix, after which it is stored in a series of boreholes, which are between 150-300 meters deep. Functioning as wells of some sort, these are generally spaced four to five metres apart and are positioned in concentric circles.

Unlike geothermal heat pumps, however, the water and glycol mixture, in particular, does not absorb any heat from the earth. Owing to the close proximity of these ‘wells’, doing so would simply freeze the entire ground.

This fluid is then stored at a temperature ranging between 7℃-12℃. When it is needed in the winter, this fluid is brought to the surface and run through a geothermal heat pump, which increases its heat, providing homeowners with water that’s around a whopping 65℃.

Having fulfilled its purpose, the fluid re-injects itself into the earth. At summertime, the same process takes place - in reverse. Here, cool fluid is sent to the heat pump, which then uses this to power internal air conditioners.

This combined system performs most efficiently in areas that experience sharp dips and rises in temperature across the seasons.

Benefits of creating energy storage through solar thermal and geothermal power

Given the high-tech nature of this solution, property owners are likely to experience a slew of benefits with this combined system. These include:

High scores of energy savings and efficiency

One of the biggest benefits of this combined system - also referred to as the borehole thermal energy storage - is that it slashes electrical consumption and energy expenditure.

In this regard, heating and hot water bills are reduced between 70%-90%. Owing to its exceptionally high rate of savings, therefore, these systems pay for themselves anywhere between 3.5 to 5 years.

Climate adaptable heating and cooling

Another strength of this system is that it provides properties with a reliable store of heating or cooling energy, whatever the season.

One of the biggest drawbacks of solar power is its intermittence during colder seasons. By combining solar panels with geothermal heat pumps, therefore, these systems can overcome this limitation and create energy storage that allows for seamless heating and cooling.

This way, you’re don’t feel guilty to turn up your air conditioning during the summer or crank up the thermostat for winter snuggles.

The technology is becoming more affordable

For property owners who are convinced by the power of this combined solution but are deterred by high startup costs, there’s little to worry about.

Given that local governments are keen to push renewable energy solutions for residential and commercial spaces, an increasing number of rebates and incentives are now being offered for this purpose.

With regard to solar panels, specifically, individuals would be remiss to install these systems without making use of any of the lucrative solar discounts on the market.

Key takeaways

While combining solar thermal energy with geothermal heat pumps may not be high on your list of priorities, there’s no better way to enjoy exceptional, climate adaptable comfort.

Harnessing the power of free energy, these systems provide homes with energy-efficient heating and cooling, dispelling concerns over excessive electricity bills at any time of the year. In this way, property owners not just stay comfortable, they also avoid the woes of an extremely risk-ridden energy market.

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