Solar energy has today become one of the preferred by most users who opt for self-consumption. There are many reasons to choose this type of energy, although the most outstanding are the efficiency and savings generated in each home.
What types of heating work with solar energy?
Solar energy can be obtained for the generation of electricity through photovoltaic solar panels, but also to generate heat through thermal solar panels. In this article we explain everything you need to know about heating with solar energy or solar energy for heating. If you want to know how it works, read on!
What is solar thermal and photovoltaic energy?
Solar thermal energy is that which takes advantage of solar radiation to transform it into heat energy. The installation, in this case, works with collectors that collect and concentrate the heat to produce high temperatures. These collectors can be low temperature —to work, the necessary temperature must be 65º C or less— or high temperature —in this case, the necessary temperature to work is between 100º C and 300º C—. Through them circulates a liquid that is used to be heated and produce steam. This liquid, through the circulation pumps, moves through the different circuits providing the heating of the water and of the different parts of the home.
Photovoltaic solar energy, on the other hand, is what It is used to harness solar radiation.. This is absorbed by solar panels made of silicon and later converted into electricity. The plates, in this case, can be monocrystalline and polycrystalline. The electrical energy generated with them can be used for the general electrical installation of the home, as well as for specific uses, such as electrical appliances for heating.
Solar heating: types of central heating with solar energy
Heating with solar energy depends on the appliance or the system used to set the home. Obviously, this renewable energy has a lot of advantages. The first one is that it supposes a considerable reduction in spending on the monthly bill; the second, that It does not pollute —which is of great benefit to the environment; It also highlights the advantage of having greater independence from energy suppliers, especially when they do not offer the service at the location of the home. These are the main types of solar heating.
Boilers and heaters
If what you want is to use domestic hot water (in the case of boilers) or heating for the home (through boilers and heaters), what you can do is take advantage of the solar installation through a heat generator. A system that allows the use of renewable energy sources must be added to both the boiler and the heater. In this case, we would need thermal solar panels. Keep in mind that the main difference between boilers and heaters is that the latter do not provide domestic hot water, unlike boilers – regardless of their type.
Underfloor heating and radiators
Underfloor heating allows you to condition a room —both hot and cold— by installing pipes under the floor through which hot water circulates —or cold, as the case may be—. These achieve great efficiency when using thermal energy. The same happens when using radiators, since the operation is very similar. For this, the use of thermal solar panels is necessary.
Heat pumps have a very special operation and have become today one of the most recommended options to save on electricity in the home. These take advantage of the energy of a cold medium, such as air, water or land, and transmit it to a hotter one. They serve to provide Domestic Hot Water, as well as heating and cooling. If they are hybridized with solar energy, a practically entirely renewable system can be formed —and more efficient than any other solution—. Hybridization, in this case, must be carried out with photovoltaic solar panels since this appliance works with electricity —in addition, it consumes very little energy—.
Stoves and other electrical systems
If we choose to carry out a photovoltaic solar installation at home, we can use it for central heating with solar energy. Solar energy for heating, in this case, would work through the electricity generated in photovoltaic solar panels, which will allow us to considerably reduce the cost of using stoves as it is a self-consumption system. In this case, electric water heaters would also be included, as well as air conditioners in heat mode and any other electrical appliance intended for this purpose.
What is better, solar thermal energy or photovoltaic energy to generate heating with solar energy?
The answer is it depends. Both systems for obtaining solar energy can be hybridized with heating installations to improve performance depending on the type of energy used by the household appliances in question. Although it is true that solar thermal energy is very economical —in fact, it is mandatory in some new-build homes—, the truth is that photovoltaic solar energy is more efficient. Now, each energy can be used in different systems. We see it in summary:
- Boilers and heaters: thermal solar energy.
- Electric thermos: photovoltaic solar energy.
- Stoves, air conditioners, incandescent bars and other electrical appliances: photovoltaic solar energy.
- Heat pumps: photovoltaic solar energy.
- Underfloor heating and radiators: solar thermal energy.
Keep in mind, however, that solar thermal panels can also be used to produce electricity that could be used by electrical devices for heating by solar energy. However, the amount of electricity produced will be less than that of photovoltaic solar panels —which are specifically dedicated to the generation of this energy—. At the end, it all depends on the type of installation you have in the house and the possibilities that it offers to be able to take advantage of the energy in one way or another. In any case, investing in solar energy will always lead to short-term and long-term savings on the monthly bill, whether for electricity, water or gas.