Tag Archive | "solar heat"

Important Facts About Thermal Energy

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Thermal energy or heat energy can rise and fall with temperature. Our daily life is deeply affected by it. In simple words it is “heat” that makes our life comfortable in many different ways.

Weather effect

You must have noticed that thermal energy is at its peak in summers. Therefore, we need to have cooling system inside our homes and buildings. During winter, situation is reversed. There is less thermal energy; therefore heating appliances are required inside rooms to keep us warm and cozy.

The source

Sun is the main source of heat energy. It might surprise you that even in cold winter; sun throws sufficient thermal energy to our planet. How this heat enters our homes while snow covers all around? It comes inside from building materials, windows and sky lights.

Geothermal energy

Just a few feet below the surface, earth has constant temperature. During winter, it’s warmer than its surface and during hot weather, its cooler. It gives heating source that is termed as “geothermal energy”.

Main uses 

Thermal energy is used in various ways in our daily life. It is consumed in the form of active gas, in solar and geothermal heating systems. Water heaters also have this energy. We can get more advantages from this energy by specifically designing our homes. It all depends upon our capability to get the most out of it.

Thermal water heaters

Many water heaters use thermal energy directly. These are compressed natural gas, butane, propane, oil, solar and geothermal. Waste heat or steam from a heater can also be used to warm drinking water at home.

Thermal space cooling

Thermally activated cooling systems (TACS) are type of solar space cooling system. Two types of solar systems are:

  1. Solar desiccant systems
  2. Solar absorption system

These work differently from one another. Desiccant systems regenerate desiccants which absorb humidity in the air. Thus, it creates cooler dry air.

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Using Solar Sunspaces In Homes

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Sun rooms, green houses and “sun spaces” are a few terms that are often used interchangeably. But, there is a difference in all of these. It depends upon the purpose for which these are used. These are all used to retain heat from the sun. A brief note on all three is given below:


It is a general term used for those home extensions that use natural light and windows. You can convert that extended area into reading room because it has ample light. It can also be used as an area for playing games. Kids would surely love that. Another option is to make it your prayer room or store sacred items in that.

Sunrooms don’t necessarily provide heating around the area. These are simple lighted extensions in a home that can be used in various forms.


Greenhouses are especially made to hold back solar heat. This energy is needed for the growth of plants. Optimal conditions required by plants are not favorable for home living spaces. Moreover, in greenhouses it is important to control high temperature and excessive level of humidity. Otherwise, it is hard for plants to survive.

In a house attached with greenhouse, if windows are fixed in place of insulated walls, house can use more energy.

solar sunspaces and their purpose

Solar sunspaces work differently from greenhouses and sunrooms. These are supposed to collect solar heat that is distributed throughout the home. Since, there is no mechanical equipment or device needed; it is type of passive solar heating.

What are the main advantages of solar sunspaces?

Passive heating system has many advantages over active heating system. Sunspaces are built using techniques that integrate well into the design of a house. These go with the building structure and material, therefore these are not expensive.

Another benefit of solar sunspaces is that these are easy to maintain. There are no solar panels to clean or repair as in other active heating systems.

How sunspaces work?

A combination of direct and indirect solar heat gain is used in sunspaces. They can serve as storage area in the form of an attached room. Where is the solar collector in a sunspace? The space in the attached solar sun space acts as collector. It retains natural sun heat to keep room warm.

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Types And Advantages Of Solar Heating Systems

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Now you can power your house with green energy. It may sound expensive or difficult to convert normal home into sun-inspired home. But in fact, it is fairly simple and economical. These have countless benefits. Being environment-friendly, these are safer and not harmful for the atmosphere around.

Two methods of solar heating are “active” and “passive”.

Active solar heating

Specific equipment is required for active solar heating. Pumps and fans are needed to move or direct sun heat. There are two further classifications in it, which are air-based and liquid systems.

1.Air-based solar heating

In air-based solar heating systems, collectors are used. These trap air which absorbs and transfers heat from the sun. Air-based system can work on lower efficiency than liquid ones. Why is that so? The reason is that air cannot transfer heat efficiently like water can do.

Advantages of air-based solar heating

There is an advantage of air-based solar heating that these systems can warm up room directly. These can also function early in the morning and late in the day. Moreover, these are easy to build and install. These can be fixed outside so that more than one room in a house can be heated.

Air-based connectors are mostly installed on window frames, roofs and walls.

2.Liquid-based active solar heating

Liquid solar collectors are used in liquid-based systems. These trap and move heat. Most common are flat-plate collectors. A fluid, like water or antifreeze is filled. This liquid absorbs heat. This heated fluid is then transferred to heat exchanger or storage tank through mechanical collector such as pump.

Important considerations

While installing solar heating system, consider these important things first:

  • Its cost is affordable
  • Size is suitable to your particular needs
  • It is durable and long-lasting
  • Tank placement is absolutely accurate

When entire mechanism is properly installed, solar heat can be distributed with a central-forced air system, a radiant floor, and a baseboard or hot water radiator.

Passive solar heating

Another type is Passive solar heating system. It works by storing solar energy. It does not require any electrical or mechanical devices.

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Passive Solar Heating: Indirect Gain

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Sun is the source of energy for our entire planet. It not only provides us the light during the day, it is also useful in regulating the temperature of our planet. The light rays of sun also heat the environment and thereby they promote life on our planet. The new advancements in field of science and technology have developed ways and means to cap the potential of the sun rays. These solar rays are used by the photovoltaic cells for production of electric current. These energy rays are also being used to heat different appliances using the passive heating concept.

Indirect Gain

Indirect gain is a means to achieving indirect or passive solar heating. This technique involves transfer of heat energy though the principle of convection. The heat energy is transported from one medium to the other without the use of the hydraulics of pumps. The heat energy is collected in one part of the building and is transferred to the other by the principles of heat exchange. Nowadays different means of using indirect gain are being incorporated in the building structures to heat by passive solar heating.

Few of the means of achieving indirect gain in buildings are as below:-

Use Of Roof Ponds

In this technique, a set of collapsible ponds are filled with water and these are placed on the roofs during the day time.

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Isolated Solar Gain – A Passive Solar Heating System

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Passive solar heating has three types and isolated solar gain is one of these types. The other two types are direct gain and indirect gain, when in area solar heat is collected and used in another are then isolated solar gain is said to be happened. It considered passive system because there is no mechanical or electrical device is used such as fans, pumps and fans.

Use of thermal masses

Use of thermal masses

Fans are mainly used for transferring heat to the parts of the home from an isolated space. Isolated solar gain commonly consist of sunspaces the heat from these sunspaces or sunrooms move through conductors. These sunspaces mostly utilize thermal masses; masonry wall, water container and masonry floor are commonly used thermal masses. These are used for absorbing solar heat and are installed in the southern side of the home.

Heat circulation and collection in the home

For the circulation of the room temperature low-emissivity windows without glazing is used. The self-contained spaces are heated in the day time, these spaces are well-insulated. Read the full story

Composition and Types Of Solar Cells

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You can find a number of devices in the market that runs on solar energy. Solar lights are one of the most popular among all the other applications of solar components. In previous times, the solar lights were considered dim and unreliable due to less glow and lack of quality. Such lights were pretty expensive back then. However, in the past few years things have changed a lot. Solar lights are considered one of the most reliable electrical components.

Solar lighting

Solar lighting

Solar lighting is gaining a significant place in our life due to its increasing reliability and cost effective nature. These lights may seem a bit expensive to you, but the incredible feature that set them apart from the traditional lighting is that you are not supposed to spend a single dime in order to provide them with fuel. Solar energy is the only sort of fuel that is present all over the world in abundance, and you can use as much you require.

Solar panel

If you are thinking about having a solar energy system for your house, then you must keep in mind some vital components of that system. The major part of the solar energy system, on which it relies entirely is the solar panel. Read the full story

Keep Your Pool Water Hot Through Solar Pool Cover

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If the top of the pool is kept open great heat loss occurs due to evaporation. If the top is covered with a pool cover the evaporation does not occurs and water remains warm and clean. Solar poll covers are much better in functioning than the traditional pool covers. Solar pool covers not only provide an upper protective covering but it also acts like absorber, it absorbs the solar heat which heat up the pool water.

Money and energy saving option

Money and energy saving option

These solar pool covers save you money that you spend in heating up the pool water time and time. The upper surface of the solar pool cover contains a film of air pockets or tiny bubbles those bubbles have appearance similar to the bubble wrap. The main function of these bubbles or air pockets is to collect the solar heat and retain it. These bubbles do not dissipate that heat in the atmosphere. They transfer that heat to the pool water in this way solar pool cover help in heating up the pool water.

Work best in sunny areas

Solar covers work in their full capacity in those areas where sunlight is available in high amount.  These systems keep your pool warm in the summer; these covers can help you in extending the swimming period beyond the summer. Solar pool covers have made it possible for you to enjoy swimming in cool climate. As during the night temperature drops so there are chances that loss of heat can occur from the pool, these covers provide a proper insulation to prevent heat loss.

Material used in manufacturing

Polyethylene material is commonly used in manufacturing solar pool covers; the material used commonly has dark absorbent colors such as black and grey. Read the full story

Heating Homes With Solar Roof Ponds

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Roof ponds are a very popular addition to most of the houses. It may sound murky to you, but it adds an interesting feature to your roof. Solar energy has been considered as one of the most reliable, efficient, and cost effective alternatives for the fuels. There are a number of devices that are operated through the solar power. The sunlight is converted to the electrical energy to operate the device.

Cost effectiveness of the solar ponds

Cost effectiveness of the solar ponds

Solar roof ponds are gaining popularity with the passage of time mainly due to cost effectiveness and convenience. Most of the roof ponds are observed to be dark colored. The ponds are dark colored to make sure that the maximum amount of solar energy has been absorbed. These ponds are much tidier that any other type of pond, and are installed on the roof of the buildings.

Function of the solar roof pond

The solar heat is stored by the solar roof pond during the entire day. The stored energy is then radiated back into the house through the process of convection. In this way the houses remain heated for a longer period of time. Read the full story

Flat-Plate Solar Collectors

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Initiation of every solar thermal heating process takes place with thermal collectors. These collectors are used to trap the solar radiations and draw heat from these radiations. These radiations pass through the liquid or air enclosed in the tube. These tube transfers the solar-heated to the system installed in the house.

Circulation systems in the collectors

Circulation systems in the collectors

There are two heat circulation systems open and closed loop system. In the open loop system the indoor air is heated by directly passing it through the thermal collector and in the closed loop system the heat exchanger transfers its heat to the inner parts of the home.  Flat-plate collectors are most commonly type of collectors used these days. These collectors are either liquid or air-based. Evacuated tube collectors can provide the most efficient of gathering solar heat. Flat-plate collectors are inexpensive and are mostly used at residential place or in any small scale application.

Flat plate Liquid Solar Collectors

Flat-plate collectors consist of metal box that is insulated and covered by a gazing. Read the full story

Solar Desiccant System – New Addition to the Cooling Systems

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Solar desiccant system works on the solar energy this system is a thermally activated cooling system; it absorbs the solar heat for separation and evaporation of the refrigerant fluid. The desiccant system uses solar-heated air to reproduce desiccants that helps in driving off the warm water in air. The cooled air produced is through different evaporative stages and then finally transferred to different parts of the home.

Solar desiccant an expensive system

Solar desiccant an expensive system

It is not necessary that desiccant system will cool and remove the humidity from the air. Use of the desiccant systems is not very common. The main reason of less use of these systems is that they are more expensive and they work in combination of the heat-driven and natural gas cooling systems.


Solar cooling system operating on the desiccant system can work better in low temperature place than the solar absorption systems. Solar desiccant systems work on the solar thermal energy that is obtained from the rooftop solar collectors. Read the full story

Components of Active Solar Water Heating System

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Unlike the passive system in active solar hot water system electric fans and pumps are used. These devices are used for transferring the heated water through the system and different parts of the home. The types of active solar water heaters are differentiated on the basis of the type of collectors and circulations system.

Flat-plate collectors

Flat-plate collectors

Flat-plate collectors are inexpensive; these collectors are used at small scale application. These collectors are most commonly used for the residential applications. For the prevention of solar heat loss the sides and bottom are insulated. Collectors usually look like flat and large metal boxes. Inside these metal boxes there are absorber plates made from copper or aluminum. These plates are covered with glazing and darkened for absorption of solar radiations. Under these plates there is a series of inter-connected pipe, through which cool water passes. That water is heated inside the box collectors. An electric pump circulates the heated water throughout the home. In the freezing climates, the transferring fluid used is other than water. The type is fluid is used that do not freezes inside the collector and continuous circulation is done in order to prevent freezing.

Evacuated tube collector

Using evacuated tube collector in the active solar water heating system can be an expensive option. But the efficiency of collecting solar heat is much higher than other collectors; it has the inability to reach the highest temperature. Evacuated tube has a glass tube inside the tube there are flat metal absorbers are installed. The metal absorbers used absorb the solar heat. Read the full story