Solar Air-Heating Basics

Overview of the Fundamentals of Solar Air-Heating

The sun’s heat and light provide an abundant source of energy that can be harnessed in many ways. A variety of technologies take advantage of the solar energy, for heat, electricity, and lighting, including:

  • active solar heating (uses fans or pumps to move solar heat)
  • passive solar heating (heats buildings with glass windows and doors without using fans or pumps)
  • photovoltaic systems (commonly referred to as PV, produce electricity)
  • solar thermal power systems (use solar heat to generate electricity)
  • solar hot water (uses a variety of solar heating techniques to heat water)
  • solar process heat (uses a variety of solar heating techniques in industrial processes)
  • space heating and cooling
  • daylighting

Commercial, industrial and institutional buildings have large exterior surfaces, which can collect solar energy. Solar energy can meet the large lighting, and varied heating and cooling needs of these buildings. Residential homes use smaller solar energy systems. Buildings using solar heating and daylighting design strategies can operate more efficiently and create more pleasant environments for working and living.

Commercial and Industrial Uses for Solar Air-heating

Businesses and industry can diversify their energy sources, improve efficiency, and save money by using solar technologies for:

  • heating and cooling
  • industrial processes
  • electricity
  • water heating

Utilities and power plants are also taking advantage of the sun’s abundant energy resource and offering the benefits to their customers. Solar thermal power systems allow power plants to produce electricity from the sun on a larger scale. With these systems, utility customers can ultimately take advantage of solar power without making the investment in personal solar technology systems.

Solar power technologies, from individual home systems to large-scale concentrating solar power systems, have the potential to help meet growing electricity needs and provide diversity and reliability in electrical supplies.