10 Advantages to Solar Thermal Heating
Harness the heat around you. Photo Credit: Jeremy Levine Design
Much of the attention surrounding residential solar systems goes to photovoltaics, but there is a lot that solar thermal has to offer as well. Many homeowners are initially scared off by the high purchase and installation costs involved in solar thermal heating, but solar energy systems make up for that through a variety of advantages. These are 10:
- Hot Water. Solar water heating systems are the most cost effective residential solar application and can provide for the vast majority of a home’s hot water needs.
- Clean Energy. Solar thermal heating helps homeowners and the national electric grid reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and reduces the individual carbon footprint.
- Lower Energy Bills. Use of solar energy to provide heat means less grid energy, which means lower monthly utility bills for the home. Solar space heating systems can cut energy cost by as much as half for larger systems. Radiant floor systems can be even more effective.
- Renewable. The crux of solar energy is its renewability. Should the power grid fail, the sun will keep right on heating. When all the oil is dried up, or the coal mined, the sun will still be readily available as a power source; one that renews itself every morning.
- Built-in. Solar heating systems may be active or passive. Passive solar heating techniques build solar energy right into the home’s structure. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this, but built-in passive solar heating is vital to the solar powered home.
- Save natural resources. In addition to being renewable and saving money, a solar heating system also save precious natural resources that are often sacrificed in the production of other energy sources.
- Stimulate the economy. Solar power creates high quality jobs for local residents. As more homes choose solar thermal heating, more jobs are created for installers and manufacturers, and more money is spent in the local community as well.
- Easy to install. Solar thermal systems have the advantage of being relatively easy to install. While PV systems require complex electronic circuitry, thermal systems are less complex and therefore more inexpensive as well. Training is still a must for qualified solar installers, but labor costs drop and only active systems will have any moving parts at all.
- Good for the pool. Solar pool heating is yet another excellent application for solar thermal energy. Very popular in states such as Florida, solar pool heating saves a bundle of energy.
- Works under cloudy skies. Solar thermal is not affected by clouds in the same way that PV is. Yes the collector temperature will not be as high under overcast skies but if there’s daylight than there is solar power at work, and solar thermal collectors are always collecting thermal energy.
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