The use of solar power for home heating has been used to great effect for thousands of years. From the shear power of the sun, just one hour of solar power could supply the world’s energy needs for an entire year.
Solar power is utilised in two different ways, as a source of heating and producing energy in the form of electricity. Solar collectors are normally placed on a roof of a building to heat water and generate electricity. As solar power is renewable it is a free source of alternative energy and therefore has no environmental impacts on the planet.
Electricity harnessed from solar power is utilised in thousands of homes around the world. Solar power towers are used to collect solar energy, it is then stored to be used in home heating and producing electricity. The solar power from the tower is harnessed using mirrors that can be moved to track the sun. Temperatures of 550°C to 1500°C are achieved.
The material used to make the solar cells or photovoltaic cells is silicone.
It was discovered in 1954 that silicone can create an electric charge when exposed to large amounts of sunlight. It was because of the discovery that solar cells were produced and now supply home heating and electricity to
homes throughout the world.
A batch system use’s a tank and is heated directly by the sun and used to heat water.
Another type is an active system which use’s a pump to circulate the water from the solar cells to the
house for water or space heating. Passive systems use’s natural circulation to transfer water to and from the solar collectors.
Another source of home heating from solar power comes in the form of a trombe wall.
The wall consists of air channels sandwiched between a window and a sun-facing wall. The sunlight heats the air between the window and the wall which is then stored as thermal mass. The heat is then released as need.
A transpired collector is an active solar heating and ventilation system which consists of a perforated sun-facing wall.
The wall acts as a solar thermal collector and pre-heats air as it is drawn into the building’s ventilation system through the perforations. These types of solar power home heating systems are efficient well above 70%.