Economic analysis and optimization of combined solar district heating technologies and systems

Junpeng Huang, Jianhua Fan, Simon Furbo, Daochuan Chen, Yanjun Dai, Weiqiang Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


To find an optimal economic solution for solar district heating (SDH) in China, an evaluation model based on the levelized cost of heat (LCoH) is developed. A Python program is developed to calculate the LCoH of SDH systems using the quasi-dynamic test method. Based on these calculations, the trend of LCoH with solar collector area under different heating load intensities, heating terminal units, heated areas and land rents is discussed. The optimal solar collector area and the solar fraction are determined for combinations of solar thermal with four types of auxiliary heat sources, including air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, gas boilers and gas boilers with seasonal heat storage. The calculations show an economic optimal solar fraction of 11%e33% for a SDH system with heat pumps. High dependency of LCoH on network temperature is found for a SDH system with gas boilers. Seasonal heat storage minimizes LCoH of a SDH system with gas boilers at 100% solar fraction. The findings can be used as a reference for local authorities, consultants and engineers in the early energy planning to determine the optimal proportion of solar energy in a district heating system with the lowest operating cost.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115886
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Economic analysis
  • Solar district heating
  • Levelized cost of heat
  • Heat pump
  • Optimization

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