how does solar energy work

ABEST1 how does solar energy work

Solar heat collectors absorb solar power, and then convert that radiation into heat. The heat is then transferred into a usable medium, most sometimes water or antifreeze fluid ( which will not freeze in cold weather ).

The heat must then be stored, and since copper, painted black, absorbs,
stores and conducts heat efficiently, it’s the medium most typically used.
And, since the heat mustn’t be lost, it’s got to be insulated, with fiberglass insulation, for instance.

There are two basic types of active solar heating systems. They differ
according to the sort of liquid heated within the solar collector : liquid or air. Liquid Systems : The solar collectors used in liquid space heating systems are the same as those used for domestic solar water heating. The most common type of solar collector used is a flat-plate collector, but evacuated tube and concentrating collectors are also used.

The solar power is caught by a heat-transfer fluid,eg water or antifreeze, and then circulated thru the solar collector by a circulating pump. As the fluid flows thru the collector it is heated by the sun. A controller operates the pump so that the temperature of the fluid is only increased by 10-20 degrees F.

This heat is then stored in water tanks or the thermal mass of a radiant slab
system ( Thermal mass is material, like rocks or concrete slabs ) that absorb
the heat, store it, and then slowly release it. In water tank storage systems,
a heat-exchanger is used to transfer the heat from the heat-transfer liquid to
the water in the tank.

Then, this solar thermal energy is distributed thru your house. This is done in a variety of ways, but all using the same fundamental principle of circulating
heated water through pipes. As it travels, the water transmits its heat, and
then revisits the storage tank as cooler water, ready to be reheated.

These are some of the distribution strategies used with liquid systems :

Radiant Slab Systems circulate the liquid thru radiant tubing inserted Within a concrete slab. The heat generates from the slab to warm your house. The slab is also used as thermal mass to store the heat.

Hot-Water Baseboards heat space using both radiation and convection. The hot water is piped to “fin tube” baseboard units.

Central Forced Air Systems have a liquid-to-air heat exchanger placed in The air-return duct to the furnace. This preheats the air to scale back the quantity of energy that the furnace wants to be employed in heating the air to the Desired temperature. The solar collectors used in solar air heating systems use air as the liquid for Capturing the solar thermal energy and transferring that heat to your living Space.

Air Systems
In the most common setup, called a closed-loop system, the collector draws Cool air from the house, heats it, and returns the now heated air to the living Space. The other type of setup is an open-loop system. This system draw in cold Outside air, heats it, and then transfers it to the living space. The closed-loop is the most efficient and the most used sort of system for Homes. The heated air is distributed by fans or blowers. A temperature sensor within The collector monitors its internal temperature. When it reaches a certain Temperature, say for example 110 F, a signal is sent to a thermostat within
The home. If the temperature within the home is below the required level, it Turns on the fan. When the internal temperature of the collector falls to a fixed level, say 90, or the living space reaches the required temperature, the thermostat Turns off the fan.
The solar thermal energy is stored with thermal mass within the home.
during the day, the thermal mass soaks up the heat offered by the solar air Heating system. At night, it slowly radiates the picked up heat into the living Space. The more thermal mass, the longer the home stays warm after the Sun sets.

Solar Powered Systems
The most expensive solar powered systems are those that take the home completely off grid, and all power in the home is supplied by solar energy, helped by wind power, hydroelectric power if available, and other resources like wood heat or cooking propane. The intertie system has the home still picked up to the power grid / application Company, but the majority of the energy is made by solar power, and any excess
Energy is sold back to the utility. Smaller systems include heating the home employing a solar powered water Heater. This can stand on its own, or be used in conjunction with the Electricity producing system..

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