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Review of solar heat pump systems for residential heating

Elsevier journal Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews.
Elsevier journal Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews.


Solar heat pump systems (SHPs) have been investigated for several decades and have been proven to increase the share of renewable energy and reduce electric energy demand in residential heating applications. Many review articles have been published on the subject, however literature discussing the techno-economics of different solar technologies (thermal, photovoltaic and hybrid thermal/photovoltaic) in combination with heat pumps is lacking, and thus to directly compare the merits of different SHPs is not an easy task.

The objectives of this study are:

  • a) review the different system boundaries and the main performance indicators used for assessing energetic and economic performances;
  • b) review techno-economic studies in the literature and identify which studies give enough information and are compatible enough for making an economic inter-comparison;
  • c) present an economic inter-comparison based on the identified systems.

The results show that there is a lack of studies including an economic assessment of solar photovoltaic and heat pump systems. Additionally, there are no consistent boundaries or approaches to the study structures, making comparisons between systems difficult. In conclusion, a standardized or broadly accepted definition of technical and economic performance for SHPs is needed. Despite this, the study has shown that there are clear trends for decreasing payback times for SHPs, both solar thermal (ST) and photovoltaic (PV), with decreasing heating degree-days and with increasing solar resource.

Read the full text on ScienceDirect.