Solar heating also can be used to refer to the heating of any objects, including buildings, cars, through solar radiation. Solar heating uses the power of the sun to provide thermal energy for you to make hot water, heat your home, or your pool. The amount of heating you get depends on the solar radiation, surface area, surface reflectance, surface emissivity, ambient temperature, and thermal convection from wind.
Passive Solar Heating
Okay passive sunlight heating is just a method of using the building design features, such as large south-facing windows, and materials in the floors or walls that absorb the sun’s warmth during the day and releasing that stored warmth back into the living space at night when it is needed.
Passive solar heating systems usually have one of these three designs:
Direct gain heating can be as easy as opening your blinds and drapes and letting the sunshine in. Capture all that free heat energy and then when the sun sets close all the drapes and shades to keep in the warmth. That’s right once you’ve captured it, lock it in!
Indirect Gain uses materials such as masonry, tile, concrete or even water tanks to store the solar energy and then release it into the living space after the sun sets.
Isolated Gain is just a fancy word for using a sun room or attached greenhouse that collects warm air that then flows naturally to the rest of the house.
Active Solar Space Heating
Active solar home heating systems consist of collectors that collect and absorb solar radiation combined with electric fans or pumps to transfer and distribute the heat. Active systems usually have an energy storage system to provide heat when the sun is not shining. The two basic types of active solar space-heating systems use either liquid or air as the heat-transfer medium in their solar energy collectors.
Air-based solar air heating systems heat air in a flat plate collector and then pass the air using fans and ducting to the interior space. These systems can be integrated in the existing home heating duct system so that all rooms receive heat or individual heating units can be installed for separate rooms
Liquid-based systems (Solar Water Heating Systems)
Liquid-based solar water heating systems heat water in a flat plate collector and then pump the radiant water heat to a heat exchanger (like a radiator) where the heat is “radiated” to the interior space. These systems would need to use a antifreeze solution where temperatures are below freezing at night.
A radiant floor heating system will work well with solar because it can make use of relatively low temperature hot water that solar systems produce very efficiently. Your radiant floor heating system can accept heat from solar, a masonry heater, or a gas boiler by sharing a heat storage tank.
More solar energy is used today for heating swimming pools than for any other single use. There are over one million solar heated pools in the United States alone. There are 40,000 new solar systems being installed every year by pool owners. A solar pool heating system will give you a reliable, low-to-no maintenance heating solution that reduces or eliminates heating costs and will give you a longer swimming season.