What is solar heating?
Solar heating is a process that uses sunlight to heat water or air in buildings. It’s a renewable energy system that collects energy from the sun in the form of heat rather than using the sun’s energy to produce electricity, as is the case with solar photovoltaics. Solar heating systems can provide space heating and water heating to be used in residential, commercial, or industrial facilities.
In the case of solar water heating (SWH) systems, heated water is used in showers, kitchen and bathroom faucets, swimming pools, washing machines, Jacuzzis, and other appliances that require warm water. Solar space heating techniques circulate the heated liquid in a radiant heat system through piping in the walls or floors to allow the heat to naturally warm indoor spaces.
Today, there are also solar heaters that passively warm air instead of liquid, commonly used in the UK and other European countries. By warming external air and then circulating it indoors, these systems provide a unique method of space heating using renewable energy.
These are two solar thermal techniques that are commonly used:
- Passive solar heating: This technique relies on the natural tendency for water to circulate freely as some of it warms (in the sun) while some cool. There are no mechanical parts used in passive solar heating systems.
- Active solar heating: In these systems, pumps and other mechanical components use electricity to circulate water or a heat medium through the system.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Solar heating is a process that uses sunlight to heat water or air in buildings.
Passive solar heating is a process that uses sunlight to heat water or air in buildings without using any mechanical components.
Active solar heating is a process that uses pumps and other mechanical components to collect the heat of the sunlight, store it, and then use it for heating water or air in buildings.