Most of us are familiar with the savings that traditional photovoltaic panels can generate for their owners since they are producing electricity for the home. However, producing electricity isn’t the only way that solar panels can bring savings into a home. Solar panels can be used in a number of ways, and one of the ways they can bring the power of the sun into your home and save you money is through a practical application - providing heat.
What are the types of solar heating panels?
Some solar panels are designed not to produce electricity but to provide a heating source for homes and pools. There are three main ways that solar panels provide heat for homeowners: heating pools, heating spaces, and heating water. Solar hot water systems capture the energy of the sun and use it in place of non-renewable energy sources like coal and gas to heat the water used in the home.
There are two types of solar panel systems for heating water - active and passive. Passive systems use the natural flow of the water due to gravity to circulate it, and active systems use a series of pumps to manage the flow and circulate the water so that it is evenly heated. The cost savings depend on the type of system that the solar water heating panels are replacing. If you are heating your water with electricity, it will provide more immediate savings than if you are replacing a gas water heater, because that fuel source is already less expensive. Solar heating panels can also be used to heat spaces within the home.
In general, these systems are more extensive than water heating systems, because the thermal energy collected in the heating of the water must then be distributed through the air. Just like the water systems, these systems are either active or passive. The passive space heating systems work much in the way that a greenhouse would, trapping the heat, whereas the active systems similarly use a network of pumps. Finally, there are systems that are used to heat pools. The pool water is circulated through the panels, which heat the water before it is returned to the pool. In this fashion, the owner of a solar pool heating system will be happy to know it should pay for itself within about seven years.
How much can solar heating panels save you?
It is clear that solar heating systems can provide substantial savings depending on which system you are currently using and what type of system they intend to replace. These solar systems, harnessing the renewable energy of the sun, not only provide a sustainable solution but give the owner substantial cost savings in the long run, paying for themselves usually within a period of 5-7 years, then giving the owner a clear profit margin.