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Solar thermal energy is the conversion of solar energy into usable thermal energy, which can be used for the heating of service water and as an additional source to heat your home.
The solar thermal system consists of solar collectors, which are usually mounted on the roof, and a solar storage tank which stores the generated energy for a short time.
Solar thermal systems can be connected to the existing heating system without any major expenditure. These systems are very productive; already a small area of about 5–10 m² (depending on the quality of the solar collectors) is sufficient to cover the hot water demand in a detached house.
A disadvantage of these systems lies in the fact that surplus energy can not be stored for long. This means that during the winter one has to fall back on traditional heating systems.
Seen over the whole year a solar thermal system can meet about 50 % of the total hot water demand.
The durability of solar thermal systems is about 20 years. In order to guarantee the durability the system should be serviced at regular intervals (every 1 to 2 years).