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Solar Collectors

Solar Collectors work by extracting the energy of the sun directly into themselves for a more usable or storable form of energy. Solar Collectors are a must for anyone considering a move to solar energy. Without them, you will be hard pressed to convert to solar power because of the lack of energy.

Solar Collectors use the energy in sunlight is in the form of electromagnetic radiation from the infrared (long) to the ultraviolet (short) wavelengths. Solar collectors can be mounted on a roof but need to face the sun, so a north-facing roof in the southern hemisphere, and a south-facing roof in the northern hemisphere is ideal. Collectors are usually also angled to suit the latitude of the location. Where sunshine is readily available, a 4 to 16 square foot array will provide all the hot water heating required for a typical family house. Such systems are a key feature of sustainable housing, since water and space heating is usually the largest single consumer of energy in households.

The solar energy striking the earth's surface at any one time depends on weather conditions, as well as location and orientation of the surface, but overall, it averages about 1000 watts per square meter under clear skies with the surface directly perpendicular to the sun's rays. The heat is normally stored in Solar Collector storage tanks full of water. Heat storage is usually intended to cover a day or two's requirements, but other concepts exist including seasonal storage (where summer solar energy is used for winter heating by just raising the temperature by a few degrees of several million liters of water.


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