Solar heating is a type of heating that is provided by collecting energy from sunlight using solar panels or photovoltaic cells or solar PV. These are very popular due to the fact that sunlight is a renewable energy source. While they are popular because they are an environmentally friendly heating choice, many wonder how they work.
The sun’s rays contain photons. These photons interact with silicon in solar panels. When this interaction happens, electrons are released. This creates a direct current or DC. A direct current can be converted into an alternating current or AC. This type of energy can be used to run large household appliances such as a heating system.
Electricity is produced by solar panels during daylight hours when they are able to collect sunlight. This happens even when it is cloudy. If more electricity is produced than is needed, the excess is added into the main electricity grid or it is stored in batteries. This electricity can be used at night when the solar panels do not create electricity.
Overnight when panels are not producing electricity, then power is supplied to the building or home from the main grid. This way power is always being supplied.
Solar panels for heating work better on some homes better than others. Houses with southern exposure are the best for solar panels. Houses in sunny climates or houses that get a lot of sun will get more benefit for solar panels. However, solar panels will work anywhere with sunlight.
Solar panels can provide up to 40 to 100 percent of your electricity needs. These usually produce more in the summer and less in the winter.
The controls on a solar heater are a little different than a typically heat pump or other type of heating system. These controls are a little more complex. In a solar control there are sensors, motors, and switches to help run the system. These controls stop the system from freezing or from creating excessively high heat.
One con of a solar heating system is that installing heating solar panels can be more expensive up front. The upfront cost is offset because over time your heating costs will be lower.
After you have a solar heating system in place, the system has to be maintained in the same way a conventional heating unit is maintained, but with special considerations for the solar aspects of the system. You should check with your installer and dealer for any special type of heating system maintenance.