A basic description of what a solar collector is and how it works. Find out how solar collectors can be used to help you save energy at home.
A solar collector not a person who stands around collecting sun. A solar collector is a device which is essential to any solar heating system. It gathers the sun?s energy, converts it into heat, and then transfers the heat into water, air, or solar fluid. This device is mainly used in water heating systems, pool heaters, and space heating systems.
The amount of solar energy which strikes the earth's surface in any given area depends on the location and weather conditions. But it averages out to around 1,000 watts per square meter, under good weather conditions, when the surface of the earth is perpendicular to the sun?s rays. To fully harness this energy, the solar collectors need to be positioned properly.
- Types of Solar Collectors
There are three basic types of solar collectors.
The first type is the flat-plate collector. This is the most common type, and is what is often used in homes, for water and space heating systems. It usually consists of an insulated metal box, with a plastic or glass cover, and a dark absorber plate. It can be used to heat air or liquid, at temperature lower than 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then there?s the liquid flat-plate collector. It works by heating liquid as it flows through tubes that are adjacent to the absorber plate. The simplest liquid systems would use potable water which is heated as it passes through the collector and then flows back into the building. Some solar pool heaters use this type as well.
Finally, there is the air flat-plate collector, which is commonly used to heat air. In this case, the absorber plates can be made from either metal sheets, or from layers of screen. The air would be passed through the absorber by the use of a fan, or by natural convection. It should be noted that less heat is conducted by air than by water. This method is thus probably the least is least effective, amongst the different types of solar collectors.
Solar collectors can be placed on the roof, but they must face the sun. If you?re in the southern hemisphere, it should be placed on a north-facing roof, while the opposite is true for those living in the northern hemisphere.
In a very sunny location, sunny, a 2 to 10 square-meter array might suffice to provide hot water for a standard-sized family home.
Due to the fact that space and water heating eats up most of the energy consumption of the household, utilizing a system such as this is an important factor in maintaining sustainable housing. Financially, if you are looking to invest in solar power for your home, the installation of a solar water heating system is usually the best way to start, as the investment-to-savings ratio is usually best with solar water heaters. This would of course have to be researched independently, for your living circumstances and location.
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