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Passive Solar Panels

Erika Said:

Is solar panels solar active or passive?

We Answered:

There are two basic types of solar homes Active and Passive.

Passive Solar - The homes we designed and built are passive solar. That means it works passively with no moving parts, no special equipment. A passive solar home is a solar collector by it very design. This limits you in that a passive solar home can not store a large amount of heat to hold for several cloudy days. Additionally you must design the home so that most windows are on the south side. With some lots this is not very feasible.

Active Solar - An active solar home has solar collectors and a heat storage area. As a general rule an active solar home will cost more to build. The higher cost is due to building a collector area and a heat storage area in addition to the house. Because the collector area is not part of windows the collectors can be mounted on any south facing wall or roof area. So one has more options in the design of the house. An active house normally keeps a more stable temperature as the heat collecting system handles the temperature swings. One can think of an active system as a solar furnace to supplement your standard furnace. But because you have to allow for several cold cloudy days in the winter you can not do away with a standard heating system unless you are willing to don sweaters.

Ricardo Said:

built passive solars panels for heating green house,how much water do i need to pump per minute?

We Answered:

No one can answer an incomplete question. You need to define how many BTU's you are trying to produce at waht rate and at what temperature levels as well as how big a heat sink you will have and what kind of heat sink.

Leonard Said:

want to build a passive solar heater for my green house,made panels from sliding glass doors,where does pump g

We Answered:

If the pump must lift the water from the underground tank, you want the pump as close to the tank as possible so that the water goes from the tank to the pump and then to the rest of the system. You want as little resistance to flow as possible between the tank and the pump.

Hugh Said:

Can you build a passive solar water heater with just copper pipe and some black and clear corrugated panels?

We Answered:

In the 70's, magazines such as Popular Mechanics and Mechanix Illustrated often featured articles on building thermal solar collectors just like that though they often used plate glass which would trap and concentrate the infrared heat (greenhouse effect). Polycarbonate panels wouldn't last very long as plastics break down in UV light. Usually the process is to build an insulated box in which copper pipe meanders over a copper plate to which it's welded to and the box is covered with a glass pane. It should get plenty hot enough for heating and for hot water, you could use small gas fired tankless heaters as backups near to the faucets, ie.: one per bathroom and one for the kitchen and laundry room, that will also give you instant heat instead of waiting for the hot water to come from the storage tank. It won't be hot enough to run a lithium bromide chiller for air conditioning or refrigeration, that would require an evacuated tube system but it sounds like your climate doesn't really need air conditioning.

Evelyn Said:

Two Questions About Passive Solar Panels . Pls?

We Answered:

From my experience, it costs about US $8 per watt to have panels installed by a professional. I am in NE US and there may be differences in prices based on the region due to labor costs and incentives given by regional governments.

I am not aware of any Canadian panel makers. Most panels sold in US are made of Japanese manufacturers such as Kyocera and Sanyo, and Europeans such as BP. There is one US company I am aware of and that is Sunpower based in California.

Dana Said:

trying to hook up a passive solar hot water heater. have 4ft by 7ft solar panel,30 gal tank, on tank?

We Answered:

How do you plan to drive the circulation?
I'd recommend a PV driven circulating pump with
thermostatic control and back-flow preventer to
drive the circulation.
Unless the pipe runs are very short and straight,
and the panel is below the tank, convection won't be enough.
In general, you want to feed the panel from the
bottom of the tank, and run the sun-warmed water
back at the top.
I'd install a tee ahead of the drain valve,
(with a valve to isolate the heater circuit),
for the panel feed, and another tee between
the cold feed and the tank,
(with another isolating valve), for the return line.
Those extra valves will be a 'pain' but if you neglect
provision for isolating the system you will regret it sooner or later.

Curtis Said:

How do passive trackers work (for solar panels)?

We Answered:

Technically, you can use any system that is energy independent. In other words, if you used a slit aperture on photoresistors on either side of the main solar panel, with a reset to the east once the sun has set, if that stepper motor system is powered by its own solar panel, it is still active, but because it is energy independent of the main system it is also passive as it is not drawing energy from the main system.

A true passive system is one Zomeworks sells,… It appears to be relying upon a phase change of liquid to gas to liquid to balance the system and return it to the east in the morning.

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