How to Heat a House With Solar Panels
Energy costs are on the rise. The biggest contributor to the average fuel bill is heating. In the northern hemisphere, many of us still rely on energy converted from fossil fuels to provide year-round heating. If you're looking to make your home more sustainable, it's well worth exploring the benefits of solar panel technology.
Solar panels are becoming increasingly affordable and easy to install, with many suppliers providing ongoing support for customers. With more products available than ever before, it's simple to find a solar-powered solution to heat just about any home. When properly implemented, solar-powered systems can provide you with all the energy required to meet your heating needs.
Choosing the best solar heating solution for your home
Thermal solar panels are an option for those looking to heat their home. However, many homeowners in the United States instead rely on a combination of solar panels and heat pumps. There's a good reason for this approach. Heat pumps are becoming increasingly common, while photovoltaic solar panels are also widely used. You won't struggle to find a supplier for both types of technology, making routine maintenance both accessible and affordable.
By contrast, support for solar thermal panel technology is far harder to come by. Because of this increasing popularity, you'll also benefit from a more exhaustive product range if you go the heat pump/photovoltaic panel route.
Even though thermal solar panels are an efficient way to gather and store solar energy, they're far harder to implement in the average home. If you're looking for reliable solar technology that you can continue to maintain and upgrade over time, PV panels and heat pumps are the obvious choice. Because of the increased range of products on offer, it's also easier to meet the unique heating challenges of your home.
Main types of solar heating systems
Solar heating systems are broadly divided into two groups. The first is passive solar heating. This style of solar technology is a more holistic approach to heating, requiring no mechanical elements and secondary energy supply. To be used effectively, you'll need to think carefully about building design and insulation factors. Active solar heating systems are more elaborate, requiring supporting technologies like thermal heaters and photovoltaic panels.
Passive solar heating explained
Many new builds are now embracing the principles of passive solar heating. In simple terms, passive solar heating refers to a building that has been thoughtfully designed to capture sunlight, providing a natural source of heating for your home. This can be a challenge for buildings located in colder climates or at northern extremes. To overcome these climate-specific obstacles, passive solar heating is often enabled by the installation of premium insulation and south-facing windows.
Countless other factors can impact the success of a passive solar heating solution. You'll need to think carefully about landscaping. If the south side of your home is surrounded by foliage, make sure the species you're planting are deciduous varieties that won't serve as an obstacle to sunlight during the winter months.
The key benefit of a passive solar heating solution is that no electricity is required. While mechanical solar power technology also has no place in a passive system, windows and insulation material may need to be replaced for maximum effectiveness. Triple glazed windows may be expensive, but this premium outlay can yield considerable savings in the long run.
How to implement passive solar heating principles in your home
Undertaking a new build or radical remodel project isn't the only way you can make use of passive solar heating in your home. In fact, there are many smaller steps you can take to slash your energy bills and ensure your home is sufficiently heated by natural sources. Investing in high-quality blinds is one of the easiest things you do to minimize energy consumption. This is particularly important if you have a lot of south-facing windows.
If you're eager to experiment with the passive solar heating principle, it's also worth adapting smaller buildings on your premises. Freestanding garages and detached workshops can be more easily reconfigured than your main home.
Active solar heating explained
Active solar heating is something else entirely. Unlike passive heating, active systems capture and store solar energy for later use. Although active solar heating is a sustainable energy solution, it does involve a more complex setup of mechanical elements to power things like water pumps and fans.
Active solar systems used to heat spaces are divided into two main varieties. The first is liquid-based systems that rely on water tanks to effectively store and redistribute heat around your home. In addition to water storage tanks, other elements like radiant slabs and heat pumps are utilized. Air-based systems use thermal mass storage in the form of rock bins, as well as a system of blowers and ducts to distribute the heated air throughout your home.
An effective choice for heating your home
Active solar heating has a broader range of applications. Solar space heating makes it a particularly good choice for those looking to heat larger properties, while it can also be used to heat water for use in central heating systems or swimming pools.
Unlike passive solar heating, active solar heating can be utilized in just about any home. For starters, you don't need to worry too much about the orientation of your windows. What's more, because solar energy is stored for later use, active solar heating is a better option for buildings based in less sunny climates. Contact us today at Solar US Shop for more information on solar panel kits for your home or business.
Author bio:John Keohane is the owner of JK Services, an expert in solar panels and EV chargers. JKS install both in homes and businesses through Ireland.