Solar Panel Heating for Greenhouse
It is no longer news that traditional electricity is costly, causes pollution, and presents a risk of accident, no matter what you use it for. This is why an increasing number of people are relying on solar energy to power just about anything, including greenhouses.
What could be so interesting about a solar greenhouse, you may ask? It is cheap, reliable, effective, eco-friendly, and easy to maintain, to mention but a few advantages. In this post, we will be discussing the details of this alternate source of energy and how it works with a hothouse; so, let us get on with it.
What Is a Solar Greenhouse?
A solar greenhouse is a structure built for the sole purpose of regulating climatic conditions to favor the growth of plants all year round. Typically, it is made of a transparent material like glass or plastic, and it is also referred to as a glasshouse or a hothouse.
Because it is an enclosed structure, the greenhouse tends to be naturally warmer inside than it is outside. But in extreme cold weather conditions, there still would not be enough warmth inside the greenhouse. This is why it needs a source of heat to generate warmth and maintain a temperature range of about 70 to 80 degrees all the time.
The most common source of heat is electricity generated through a regular power grid or a solar panel system. With regular power grid electricity, heating the greenhouse will cost you some money, cause harmful waste to be produced by power plants, and may fail in certain instances if the power goes out.
With a solar-powered greenhouse, you can heat a greenhouse effectively without paying for power. The solar panel captures the sunlight and converts it to heat. Plus, it is eco-friendly.
Can a Greenhouse Be Heated with Solar Panels?
Solar panels have been verified as effective providers of heat for greenhouses. In addition to that, they also help to reduce the environmental footprint and enable plants to grow as healthily as possible. They can be used to create quality energy for any size of greenhouse you can think of.
So, how can a greenhouse be heated with solar panels? First, the system has to be installed properly. The panes must be strategically situated where they can get the most sunlight within the environment. It could be on the roof or any other location you deem ideal.
When the sun hits the greenhouse solar heat panels, they absorb the energy and activate the photovoltaic cells as a result. At this point, electricity has been generated and will need to be transferred to an inverter as a direct current. Next, the inverter converts the electricity from direct current to alternating current, which is the only type of current that can power the heater. When the heater is powered, it generates warmth and brings the temperature of the greenhouse to a recommended standard.
Types of Solar Panels That Can Heat a Greenhouse
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
This type of panel is made of cells that are typically cylindrical in shape, dark in color, and aesthetically appealing. They are classified as premium because of their high efficiency compared to other types of panels. It is created by forming a silicon ingot into a bar shape and then cutting them into thin slices. Note that the ingot is grown from a single crystal of silicon of high purity, hence its “mono” reference and premium quality.
Each of the cells of a monocrystalline solar panel is composed of a single crystal, and as such, more room is available for electrons to move, which literally translates to a better generation of electricity with over 21% efficiency.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
This type of panel is comparatively a cheaper option; it still does sure get the job done but not with premium efficiency. It is characterized by multiple crystals formed from a cooled mixture of a seed of crystal and liquid silica. It is the cooling process that causes the formation of multiple crystals, hence the “poly” prefix in the term “polycrystalline.”
As a result of the multiple silicon crystals in each cell, the electrons find it hard to flow and generate power as effectively. A standard 60-cell panel can offer about 240 to 300 watts and about 18% efficiency. Also, the multiple silicon crystals give it a blue color.
Thin-Film Solar Panels
The very first thing you should keep in mind about this type of solar panel heating a greenhouse is that it is the least efficient of the three types. So, if you need highly efficient power, this may not be the best option for you.
It is made from a variety of different materials. The most notable is cadmium telluride (CdTe), which is a stable crystalline compound made of cadmium and tellurium. It is mainly used as a semiconductor. Structurally, it is what it says it is—a thin film. A layer of CdTe is placed between transparent conductors that are also thin, protected with a glass layer at the top, and designed to trap sunlight.
Tips for Heating a Greenhouse with Solar Energy
If you consider your priorities and budget, you will understand which of the aforementioned types can give you the right greenhouse solar heat you require.
The first goal should be to invest in efficiency. Make sure you install the right quality and quantity of panels that can effectively function to meet the full heating needs of the greenhouse so that you do not have to rely on electricity from the power company.
- Site and power demand
If your greenhouse site is not near your place of residence, you might go for the less premium panels, which can still serve you well. If you wish to integrate the greenhouse and your residence, then a higher efficiency panel would be a better option.
Irrespective of what type of solar greenhouse panel you wish to install, it is going to cost you some money. Taking the cost into consideration helps you determine what greenhouse capacity you can afford. You will have to decide if you should make do with that or if you should put it off until you can afford the cost of what you really want.
In summary, creating the perfect environment in winter for your plants to thrive is possible with solar technology. Using a properly installed solar panel system, you can capture energy from sunlight with the help of photovoltaic cells. This system for heating a greenhouse is cost-effective, eco-friendly, easy to install, and easy to maintain.