Utah Energy Office promotes the use of solar energy through demonstration
projects, workshops, public information, and administration of the Renewable
Energy Systems tax credit.
Select from the menu for information on solar energy and Utah Energy Office
activities. If you have questions, call (800) 662-3633 or
Click here to e-mail the Utah Energy Office.
energy systems can provide either heat or electricity. Heat for water, homes,
and buildings can be provided by solar water and space heating systems, which
utilize solar collectors to capture the sun's energy. Passive solar homes
incorporate design features that allow for the collection, storage, and
distribution of solar energy.
Hot Water and Heating
The sun heats solar collectors, and the heat is transferred to water or air as
it passes through the collector. With Utah's abundance of sunshine, a solar
water heating system can meet the majority of home water heating needs. Homes
and buildings can also be heated with solar heating systems.
Another solar heating system, called transpired solar collectors, consists of
perforated panels attached to the south wall of a building, with a few inches
between the panels and the building wall. The panels are painted a dark color,
and absorb heat from the sun. The buildings ventilation system draws incoming
air through the perforations and behind the panels were the air is heated before
entering the building. This system is very effective on building which require
large quantities of ventilation air, including warehouses, large manufacturing
plants, and airplane maintenance hangars.
Passive Solar Design
A passive solar structure is one that permits direct sunlight to entering
through windows to provide heating, but is also designed to not overheat the
structure and to minimize heat loss through the windows at night. Features of
passive solar design are structure shape and orientation, window area, thermal
mass to store heat, overhangs to shade the windows in summer, and thermal shades
or highly insulated windows. In Utah, 50 to 75% of heating is achievable.
Sunspaces, if designed properly, will provide heating for a home or building.
Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight directly to electricity. PV panels
vary in size from a few square inches to about the size of a door. The largest
panels generate 300 watts in full sunlight. A PV system, which consists of PV
panels, a charge controller, and may include an inverter and batteries, can
provide electricity for everything from parking lot lights to large utility size
systems that can power a city.
These systems have several advantages; they may be a cost-effective alternative
to utility line extensions, they have no moving parts and are low maintenance,
and they produce electricity without polluting the environment.
In areas with utility service, some individuals and communities chose
photovoltaics for the environmental benefit even though it is not the least-cost
alternative. The visitor center at Zion National Park has a PV system that
contributes to powering the building and supplies electricity to critical
systems during utility outages.
Concentrating Solar Power
Solar thermal technologies can be used to generate electricity from the sun.
These technologies concentrate the suns power to heat a working fluid, such as
water or molten salts. The heated working fluid is used to produce steam to run
a turbine that generates electricity.
Want awesome ideas when designing your own passive solar home plan?
How about a simple system for creating a solar home or structure?
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In 1980, Mike and Lisa Kraft set out to build a really cool solar home. They used many solar concepts, including solar panels, solar power, and solar water heating, in their plan. They still live in the same home today, and offer you a great way to learn everything that they have learned--Only you won't have to study for hundreds of hours, and live in the house for 20+ years, like they did. Learn from their solar experiences by checking out their ebook!
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