Susan Bloomquist, Peak to Peak. To obtain solar power, Photovoltaic Panels or PV’s are utilized, turning the brilliant rays of the sun into electricity. Solar Thermal works differently.
After such a cold winter season, we can consider the heat on Planet Earth. Heat comes from the sun, the center of the Earth, or from burning the fossilized remains of earlier life on this planet. The cold places of the world contribute to the global warming by using fossil fuels to heat living spaces. Every day the sun delivers heat, why not capture it directly and save the planet from a bit of fossil fuel use?
Solar Thermal systems have two common applications. Solar hot water uses the sun’s energy to heat water in black tubes; a pumping system circulates the water through a radiator or to storage. A solar hot air system, on the other hand, uses the sun’s energy to heat air, using a blower fan to distribute the heated air directly to the living space.
A much simpler system than solar hot water, solar hot air systems use vertical placement of the thermal collection array on an outside wall. Precision constructed panels with black absorber plates make up the array. When low altitude winter sun shines on the black absorber plates, air temperature inside the array can achieve 90° to 145°F. Using a small fan or blower, the room inside is consistently warmed by circulating the hot air from the array throughout the whole room. The heated air is a comfortable, low static heat very different from electric generated heat. One might call it cozy.
The ease of use of the Solar Hot Air system is compelling. Any time the temperature is warmer inside the solar heat collector than inside the room or building, the blower fan goes on, heating the room. The system goes on and off automatically, when the sun shines, so the room is heated whenever possible rather than as needed.
Where on the outside walls of your house or work building is direct sun shining for some part of the winter day? If you are heating your cabin, house, garage, or office with fossil fuel heat, the savings in using solar thermal heat can be significant. The solar thermal option can take some of the load off.
After install, the solar heater works most days for as long as the sun shines for FREE. Heated air will continually come into your personal space with no exertion from you or expense of carbon to the planet. Temperature is controlled using a thermostat, whenever the room is cold and the collectors are hot, the blower turns on and heats the room. Your fireplace, electric or gas heater can be turned off during the day saving you fuel costs and extending the life of your fossil fuel system.
What happens during the HOT summer months? The solar hot air system is controlled by a thermostat, one simply turns it down to 55 degrees and the system will not go on. Heat is released on the outside of the house, or the absorber plates can be covered during summer. Vertical placement of the collection system is important during the summer months, as the position of the sun toward the earth is higher and shines less on the outside wall than in winter.
Solar thermal systems, hot water and heated air can be constructed for the unique solar gain on your property. Solar Thermal has the charm of being much less expensive to build or buy than the Solar Electric PV systems. The tools and expertise needed can be compared to a DIY project. Solar thermal is a much less complicated daily use of the sun’s energy. Go ahead and Google it!
BeeYond Gardening LLC PO Box 1281 Nederland, CO 80466 303-258-7851 Email : BeeyondGardens@gmail.com