What is the Right Size for a Solar Thermal Collector?

What size collector is necessary for thermal energy storage in solar air heaters? What is the practical approach to use this system for heating one’s own house? — S. Ranjit, Punjab, India

Several systems are sold in the United States, Greece, Israel and Australia. A few here in the U.S., specify size. Of course, it all depends on the availability of sunlight and location, orientation of collectors, and overall heating needs. Cansolair forced convection solar air heaters cycle the home’s air through the solar air collector, boosts up the indoor temperature of the air by as much as 55 degrees (F) and then blows that air back into the home. The solar collectors are glazed with a special UV resistant polycarbonate that allows the collector to boost the indoor temperature no matter what the temperature is outdoors. Cansolair recommends one collector per 1000 square feet of home or office space. Another product, Solarsheet, The Solarsheat G has a hardened glass glazing and boosts the temperature of the indoor air with unit life expectancy from 25 to 30 years. Solarsheet advises that ‘one’ unit is recommended for 750 to 1000 square feet of home space. Conserval’s Solar Wall transpired solar kit (SW-100-4), has four panels to heat 1500 square feet. As I have suggested in an earlier Q&A on this subject, these systems are under-appreciated. They can be tied to ground-coupled heat pumps, wood pellet and other biomass or propane stoves and heaters, so the building has absolute assured heating — anytime and anywhere. — Scott Sklar Scott Sklar, founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and the Renewable Energy Policy Project.
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Scott, founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation. The Stella Group, Ltd., a strategic marketing and policy firm for clean distributed energy users and companies using renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage. Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University teaching two unique interdisciplinary courses on sustainable energy, and is an Affiliated Professor of CATIE, the graduate university based in Costa Rica. . On June 19, 2014, Scott Sklar was awarded the prestigious The Charles Greely Abbot Award by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and on April 26, 2014 was awarded the Green Patriot Award by George Mason University in Virginia.

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