Solar energy is the power of the sun. Solar panels are a series of chemical cells that are capable of harnessing this power, in the form of light, and turning it into heat or electricity. There are several options to choose from when selecting a method of heating radiators with solar power. Solar panels come in a number of varieties each with its own strengths and weaknesses, as some are better for heating water whilst others are best for producing electricity.
The best approach for heating radiators and hot water within a home is a hybrid system. Because of the nature of solar energy, there is an abundance of it in the summer months, but not so much in the winter. To help even this out, solar panels can be integrated into an already existing boiler system. According to Solar Panel Systems, in the summer months a solar system will produce 90 percent of a home's hot water requirements. This will drop in the wintertime due to less sunlight, at which time the traditional boiler will be required to heat the water.
Passive Solar Heating
Passive solar heating is a method of harnessing the power of the sun to heat water used for radiators, bathing and washing, and does not involve the production of electricity. This system makes use of a large solar panel, through which tubes of water run back and forth. As the water trickles through the solar panel, the solar rays heat up the water, which is then pumped through the house. Heat is prevented from escaping by a combination of materials as well as a vacuum within the tube panels. The disadvantage to passive solar heating is that without the sun, the household will have no hot water.
Electrical Solar Water Heating
Electric boilers are common--the alternative being gas--and are used throughout North America and Europe. These boilers are used to heat the hot water and take their power from the electrical grid. This can be supplemented, and in the summer months replaced by, a photovoltaic system. Solar panels react with the sunlight to produce electricity that is then harnessed and either used immediately by the home, or stored in batteries. Any electricity that is produced that is not consumed can be sold back to the utility company, so long as the residence is still connected to the energy grid.
- Photo Credit Solar Panel image by kuhar from Fotolia.com
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