Solar Energy Facts

Find Out The Latest Facts About Solar Energy

Commercial Solar

A commercial solar system is a solar power system that is used on a business. It is in essence the same system that is found on a home, but often times is a much larger system. The size of the solar system is geared to the needs of the individual business. At times, the owner of a complex may install a commercial solar electric system to power the entire complex and charge each tenant a flat rate or prorated rate for electrical consumption. In this case, the solar system may be paid for by the tenants, rather than the owner of the building. Commercial solar systems are often installed on college and university buildings, and government buildings. These systems are not only installed on the rooftops of the office buildings, but often times on top of parking structures, which also provides added shading for cars.

Commercial Solar Air Conditioning Systems

Probably one of the last things most people would think of when it comes to solar energy is a Solar Powered Air Conditioner. Solar thermal energy equates with heat, not cold. Since air conditioners are powered by electricity, there are a few different approaches to powering a solar air conditioner.  If you have a solar electric system, you can power it the same way you always have, through the electrical system. Therefore you don’t have to replace an existing air conditioner to achieve solar air conditioning. Or you can purchase an actual solar powered air conditioning unit. There are two basic types of solar air conditioners. One way is to actually install an absorption chiller unit, which uses thermal energy and converts heat into cold through a heat exchanger. Another route to go would be to buy a Direct Current (DC) powered solar air conditioner system. One of these AC systems is manufactured by Securusair, which operates on a 48 volt DC solar system. This particular system has four 200 watt standard solar panels mounted on the roof. The output of these panels is fed into four 12 volt deep cycle batteries, which in turn powers the air conditioning unit. This unit puts out 18,000 BTU of cooling power.

Solar Thermal Systems

This type of solar system does not contain photovoltaic cells as most solar systems do. It does however utilize solar energy to produce the end result. Actually, solar thermal systems have been used for a much longer time than solar electric systems. Solar thermal systems date back as far as the 7th century B.C. The earliest use of solar energy included the use of glass and mirrors to magnify the sun’s rays. The Greek scientist, Archimedes set Roman wooden ships on fire using bronze shields to focus the sunlight to create an intense heat. The Romans used solar thermal systems to heat their bath houses the first few centuries A.D.  The Clift Dwellers built their homes facing the South to capture solar heat in winter months.

Most solar hot water systems utilize some type of flat plate solar collector. The material is typically painted black to absorb as much of the solar heat as possible. These systems are often used to heat swimming pools. There are also solar hot water heaters that heat water for use inside the house. Uses of this water would include bathing, washing dishes, and washing clothes.

As you can see, commercial solar systems come in more than one form. Several of these systems can be of great benefit to businesses and schools. More school districts and universities are now utilizing commercial photovoltaic solar systems due to the cost savings.