Solar & Wind's Introduction To
We frequently have people call and ask how much does
a solar system cost. Most
people do not realize that there are not only lots of different prices for
solar systems, but there are many different kinds of solar systems.
Solar systems can be roughly divided into two main
types: Solar Electric and Solar Thermal.
Grid-tied solar electric is a solar electric system
that is connected to the utility grid.
This type of solar electric system usually does not have batteries,
but can have batteries.
Grid-tied Solar Electric System in Colorado Springs
Off-grid solar electric is a solar electric system
that is not connected to the grid almost always has a bank of batteries
since the grid is not available for storage of excess electricity produced
by the solar system. This type
of solar electric system is also often referred to as a remote power
system, since these systems are usually remotely located where a utility
grid is not available. The
solar electric modules in these systems are some times located on the top
of a pole rather than on the top of a house since remote areas generally
have a lot of land.
Top of Pole Off-grid Solar Electric System
Located near Evergreen Station West of Colorado Springs
Consisting of AC Box, Inverters, AC Box & Charge Controllers.
Off-grid Solar Electric System Battery Bank
Solar Electric Water Pumping
Solar thermal systems are generally used either to heat domestic hot water or the space in a building.
Solar hot water heating is done either passively
(without pumps and controls), or actively with pumps and controls. Solar hot water heating is usually
done in colder climates actively using either an anti-freeze solution in a
closed loop system, or water only in a drain back system that
automatically drains the collectors when they become cool. Solar hot water heating systems can
also use air to heat hot water. In
these systems air is circulated through the collectors. These systems are less efficient
than liquid systems, but they have the advantage of not having to replace
a fluid, and the circulation medium will not freeze.
Solar Hot Water System Diagram
In most cases the same collectors used to heat hot
water are used to heat the space in buildings. So, as in the case of solar hot
water heating systems, the collectors used to heat buildings can be
passive or active, and the circulating material can be anti-freeze, water
or air. Some solar thermal
systems heat both the water and air in a building. We call these systems combination
solar hot water and space heating systems.
Solar air space heating systems cost less, are almost
always smaller systems since they almost never include storage;
consequently they also usually provide a smaller percentage of the space
heating. Liquid solar systems
can be much larger since a large water storage tank can be used to store
the heat collected during the day and then used later to heat the building
at night and the next day.
Buildings can themselves be built to be a solar
collector using lots of South facing windows plus lots of heat storing
materials such as concrete, tile, bricks and blocks. For decades it has been difficult
to incorporate enough heat storage into passive solar buildings,
consequently they tended to overheat during the day and provide less than
desirable heat at night. However
the problem of insufficient heat storage has been economically solved by
the revolutionary vented slab consisting of large cement blocks underneath
a concrete floor.