According to sources, the sun produces 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 watts of energy every second. Now wouldn’t it be nice to harness that power and use it to generate energy that we can use for free?
The central heating and water heating system of a home or building plays a big contribution in the electricity bill. That is why more and more residential and commercial establishments are looking for alternative sources of energy that will not only help them save on electricity bills but will also contribute to a green environment.
One of the technologies available today that can achieve this is solar thermal systems. These systems is considered to be one of the most cost-effective renewable sources of energy as it can generate up to 70% of energy without relying on gas, oil or fuel.
A solar thermal system harnesses the energy from the sun to heat water or use the generated heat to power steam turbines. The system collects the heat from the sun using solar thermal collectors or sometimes called “batch systems”. There are three types of collectors and each has its own application:
- Low temperature collectors are cheaper and are made from plastic and are commonly used to heat pools. The energy generated will heat the water that passes through the pool’s filtration system to heat the water in the pool.
- Medium temperature collectors are flat plates that is use to collect heat from the sun and the energy generated will be use to power water or central heating system in a residential or commercial establishment.
- High Temperature collectors use mirrors and lenses and the heat generated is use to produce electricity or power steam turbines.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when installing a solar thermal system and so it is important to note of its advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of Solar Thermal System
- These systems can generate up to 70% of the energy needed by most residential and commercial establishments to power up the central and water heating system. This means that renewable power is always available which can greatly reduce the need to us fuel or gas and can help lower down electricity bills.
- It is a green-energy source, as it does not emit carbon dioxide, which is bad for our environment.
- Installing is simple as it can easily integrate to the existing heating systems.
- It is one of the cheapest and most affordable solar power technologies and so it has a shorter payback period of only 3 to 5 years.
- Owners of solar thermal systems installed starting July 15, 2009 can take advantage of the upcoming Renewable Heat Incentive scheme of the government, which will pay owners per every KwH generated by the system.
Disadvantages of Solar Thermal Systems
- This type of system is less effective in winter and additional device have to be installed like boiler or immersion-heater to ensure that the heating system will still work during the winter months.
- It performs at its best during the summer months where there is not much need for a heating system.
- Upfront investment for the cost of the equipment and installation is required to setup the system.
Installing solar thermal systems is really a cost-effective way to provide us with the comfort of a heating system without sacrificing the environment and our budget.