Solar thermal energy is a technology used for harnessing solar power for practical applications, from solar heating to electrical power generation. Solar power plants generate electricity by converting solar energy to heat. This is one of the most cost-effective renewable energy systems and can significantly reduce your utility bill.
Solar Thermal Energy – How it Works
Solar thermal energy is the heat that can be gathered from solar power without the use of photoelectric cells. It is a form of energy that can be transferred into water and stored in insulated containers and kept heated constantly by the sun, while retaining energy overnight. They are also used to heat water and homes. Some thermal energy is used to superheat water in massive solar power plants that use steam based turbines to generate electric power. This is very environmentally friendly because no emissions are produced.
Solar Thermal Energy Applications
The collection of solar thermal energy is usually done through a panel or a series of panels which pump water. These panels are commonly seen in a home’s hot water system and can cut consumption of energy used for heating water by more than half. Various collectors, such as solar hot water panels, are commonly used to generate solar hot water for domestic and light industrial purposes. Solar thermal energy is used in architecture and building design to control heating and ventilation in both active solar and passive solar designs.
There are a variety of cost efficient solar thermal systems available to homeowners, so you have to choose which best meets your needs.
A closed loop solar thermal system supplements heat to your hot water tank. This system will cost about $4,600 US to install, but prices are steadily decreasing. Another popular closed loop system is called a drain-back.
The solar pool heater, which is an open loop system, is a very practical product. It’s called this because water circulates back into the pool since it’s an open system.
A solar blanket, while not technically a solar thermal system, is an economical way to retain and increase the heat of your pool. Many governments are offering rebates to consumers who buy environmentally friendly products.
Foremost on the minds of consumers in the desire for cost efficient and environmentally friendly sources of energy. Solar thermal energy plants are providing an alternative to coal, oil and nuclear energy. Sun power is a free and renewable fuel for these systems. While the technology is costly right now, the expense is becoming more moderate as the technology advances and becomes mass produced. This is just one way to conserve the world’s energy resources.