The performance of a solar hybrid heating network devoted to satisfying the heating demand of a small-scale district, composed of 6 typical single-family houses and 3 typical school buildings, is investigated by means of the dynamic simulation software TRNSYS under the climatic conditions of Naples (south of Italy). The district heating system is mainly composed of a solar collectors array, a short-term sensible thermal energy storage, a long-term borehole thermal energy storage, a natural gas-fuelled internal combustion engine-based micro-cogeneration unit and a heat distribution network. The simulation results are compared with those associated to a conventional heating system in terms of primary energy consumption, carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, operating costs as well as simple pay-back period in order to assess the potential energy, environmental and economic benefits/drawbacks associated to the proposed innovative plant.
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