The sun sends enough energy to the earth in one hour to provide for all the energy needs of the Earth and this, for a full year!
The largest energy load of an Armenian building is the demand for heating. Whether it would be to heat domestic hot water, living spaces, pools and spas, the most efficient way of using solar energy is by far to produce heat. This heat can then be used directly without any transformation.
A thermal solar panel has an average efficiency rate of about 75%, meaning it can absorb 75% of the solar energy available. If we compare it to the photovoltaic panel, this one will be able to use about 15-20% of the available solar energy to produce electricity. Knowing this, we can easily understand that an energy efficiency project will benefit greatly from using solar thermal panels in the first place to alleviate the heating load before contemplating using photovoltaic modules to produce electricity that would then be used to produce heat.
There is three different types of solar thermal panels:
- 1-Solar domestic hot water
Solar hot water has a much shorter return on investment than it’s solar sibling, the photovoltaic. They use a simple yet efficient technology to pre-heat water that will be used for domestic hot water or heating the space through radiant floors. These systems will generally save between 40 to 70% of the hot water usage of a residence.
- 2-Solar air heater
Contrary to popular belief, winter sun is very powerful and allows to generate large quantities of heat. Solar air heaters take advantage of this potential with optimal output. Similar to solar hot water heating using anti-freeze piping, solar air heaters can produce up to 2000 watts of power to heat the space with forced air.
The installation of solar air heaters is generally done on the south facing façade of a building. It’s most popular application is the direct heating of a defined space like a basement, garage, living room, kitchen etc. It is also possible to attach it to the existing ventilation system, forced air or heat exchanger.
- 3-solar pool heater