Active Solar Heating System:
Marketing Energy in an Energy-Challenged Age
Active solar heating system is one of the many eco-friendly ways of using energy from sunlight to heat a structure and/or provide hot water. A more technology-oriented way to obtain energy, active solar heating uses photovoltaic cells, or solar cells, which directly converts sunlight to electricity. These cells are made of thin layers of semiconductors (silicon or other materials) and solid-state electronic components with little to no moving parts. Solar cells work by sunlight striking the thin layers of a semiconductor, which in effect, produces an electric current. Another method used in active solar energy is solar thermal energy collection and concentration. This is the creation of heat energy by concentrating sunlight. In this method, heat is more available and ready to use since it can be used to generate not only steam currents in the air, but also convection currents that can generate electricity.
Three key components make up the active solar heating system. These components are solar energy collection, solar energy storage, and solar energy distribution. Solar energy collection is done with solar collectors, such as photovoltaic cells. However, in this system, the common collector used is the flat-plate collector that is plainly a glass covered insulated box. The box contains black absorber plates that absorb the solar energy and convert it directly into heat. The heat energy that is created is transported to a fluid, either water or air, that flows through the collector. This process ascertains whether the active solar heating system is liquid-based or air-based. Once that is determined, the energy moves on to the next component where is stored either with water tanks or thermal mass; this is for liquid based systems. If it is an air-based system, the solar energy storage can be stored with rock bins, which ultimately holds the heated air. The stored energy then becomes...