Limitations

As a result of our extreme environment, and the very short solar day during months when space heating is most needed, solar space heating is almost exclusively used as a secondary supplement to a primary space heating system.

  • Solar space heating systems can produce significant output, especially in spring or early fall where the heating load is less and the solar day is relatively long.
  • Solar space heating is often integrated with a solar water heating system.  Three additional considerations come into play:

    • orientation of collectors - when space heating is being considered, it is important that the collectors face close to due south, and are tilted closer to vertical than flat.  South-facing wall mounts, or ground-mounted racking at 60 to 90 degrees are considered optimal for systems integrating space heating.  Space heating customers often consider installing 4 collectors, instead of a typical 2-collector install.
    • thermal storage - enough thermal mass is required to store solar energy collected during the day for release into the space in the late afternoon/evening.  Concrete slab flooring can be used for solar storage, or larger solar storage tanks can be added.
    • heat radiators - some means of releasing the relatively low temperature (compared to a furnace or boiler) solar energy into the space is required.  In-floor concrete slab heat is a common approach.  In-wall or in-celing radiant tubes are also possible, as are high effecinecy baseboard heaters.  Fan coils/radiators within a forced air system are possible, but not ideal for solar heat.
  • Most space heating applications are unique, please contact us for details.  The most effective designs can be implemented when the solar installers are consulted early in the design planning stages.
  • Various space heating approaches have been documented in our project pages.

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