Our planet can be powered by solar energy. You may wonder, how?
The sun’s enormous power is captured through active and passive solar energy, transforming it into useful forms.
Additionally, using solar energy eliminates the need for fossil fuels like coal and oil. But what are passive and active solar energies, and how can we harness them?
Let us dive a little deeper into this topic.
What Is Solar Energy?
Solar energy may be defined as capturing the sun’s energy and converting it into usable power for buildings such as houses and companies.
The sun is a powerful source of energy. It produces and emits energy in photons, which photovoltaic arrays may collect.
Tiny solar cells are used to create solar panels. Positive and negative layers are created in the cells using solar wafers, simulating the action of a battery.
The solar cells are then connected to create a panel, and the panels may be linked to create your entire system.
A photon striking a solar cell causes electrons to be knocked loose and flow across the circuit, producing power for your home.
What Are Active and Passive Solar Energies? How Are They Different?
Let us now understand how active solar energy varies from passive solar energy.
Solar cells and panels utilise active solar energy. Their architecture makes them suitable for residential heaters and supplying towns and whole homes with energy. Flat-plate PV panels that may be installed or fixed can be used for active solar energy to capture the sun’s rays.
The fundamentals of passive solar energy are something you already know if you’ve ever parked your vehicle under the sun on a chilly winter day. Your automobile’s glass traps the heat while it is parked in the sun. This is sometimes referred to as “the greenhouse effect.”
Passive solar energy does not require specialized mechanical devices or equipment to convert the sun’s energy to power. Passive designs include greenhouses and sun parlours.
The sun’s rays penetrate through the glass windows, and the inside of the building receives and absorbs the warmth.
Passive solar systems may be built into residences, workplaces, and commercial sites to maximise their benefits.
Placing numerous windows, especially on the southern end of a structure, can significantly increase energy uptake. This may lessen the demand for lighting and heating throughout the winter.
Example of Passive Solar Home Design
To be successful, a passive solar home design must include some essential elements that work together:
1. Properly oriented windows
Correctly positioned windows are essential. Typically, windows or other solar energy-collecting components should face South.
They should not be covered by other structures or plants from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout the heating season.
The windows should be screened in the springtime, fall, and winter season to prevent overheating. Also, window glass should always be kept clean.
2. Thermal mass substances
In a home powered by passive solar energy, thermal mass – which is often composed of concrete, stone, marble, and mosaic – absorbs heat from the sun throughout summer.
While water and other products are more effective at retaining heat, brickwork has the benefit of serving as both a structural and finishing element.
The thermal mass included in drywall and household items may be adequate in well-insulated homes in temperate regions, negating the demand for extra thermal storage materials. Make sure that nothing blocks the sun from reaching thermal mass substances.
3. Control techniques
Vertical south windows can receive summertime shade from properly proportioned roof overhangs.
Others include movable vents and valves that permit or limit heat flow, adjustable curtains, operable thermal shutters, and canopies.
Electronic smart objects, such as a variable thermostat that instructs a fan to switch on, are also used in other control strategies.
4. Distribution Systems
Conduction, convection, and radiation are used to move solar heat from where it is gathered and stored to other parts of the home. Small turbines and blowers can assist spread heat in some houses.
- – Conduction: When two items are in close touch, they transfer heat by conduction. For example: warming up your bare feet on a sun-heated floor.
- – Convection: Passive solar houses frequently employ convection to transport air from warmer locations, a sunspace, for example, into the remainder of the house. Convection is the transmission of heat via a fluid like air or water.
- – Radiation: When you sit near a wood fire or a sunny balcony and sense the warmth of it on your skin, that is radiation. Darker colours are preferable for thermal mass in passive solar homes since they absorb more heat than lighter hues.
When the sun is not present, such as at night, passive solar energy heating systems discharge the heat stored in the building’s components.
A furnace or solar cells on the roof are no longer required to heat new residences. Using passive solar energy, homeowners may gather, absorb, and transfer solar energy directly from their windows.
Homes may be kept comfortably warm throughout the day and cool at night by utilising materials that absorb heat through the day and release it at night.
This implies that passive solar heating not only creates a comfortable living environment but also does it in a way that is economical and requires little effort and upkeep.
Q. What are the disadvantages of passive solar energy?
The following are the disadvantages of passive solar energy
- – Limited Electricity Capabilities: Solar energy’s limitations make it feasible to produce only a certain quantity of power.
- – There may be several up-front expenses.
- – It is highly reliant on climate since clouds can limit sunlight.
- – The unseemly appearance of all windows facing south is an added disadvantage.
Q. What percentage of energy can passive solar save?
By using passive solar energy construction methods, you may reduce energy use by 25%. As a result, you may also minimise your solar panel requirements by 25%. You might lower your 6 kW system to 4.5 kW and save $4,500.
Q. Is passive solar heating effective?
The architecture for passive solar energy makes the most of a building’s location, temperature, and materials consume as little energy as possible.
A well-designed passive solar home decreases its heating and cooling needs through energy-saving measures before supplying all or a portion of those needs with solar energy.