In this paper, a solar district heating system (basically composed of a solar collectors array, a short-term thermal energy storage (STTES), a long-term borehole thermal energy storage (BTES), an auxiliary natural gas-fired boiler and a heat distribution network) has been analysed by means of dynamic simulations over a 5-year period when serving a district composed of 6 typical single-family houses and 3 typical schools under the climatic conditions of Naples. A sensitivity analysis has been carried out by simulating 27 configurations obtained by varying the solar collectors area, the volume of STTES and the volume of BTES. The simulations results have been compared with those associated to a conventional heating system in terms of solar fraction, primary energy consumption, operating costs and simple pay-back period in order to (i) evaluate the potential benefits, (ii) explore the influence of the components size on the system performance and (iii) establish some simple rules for the initial design of the main subsystems.
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