Solar Energy Systems : Heating-Cooling-Electric Power

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The practicality of most renewable energy systems or combination of systems for a specific construction project increases when considered early in the planning stages of the site and building design, although retrofits also may be advantageous as illustrated in Figure 1. Source: Rutgers Center for Green Building.

Renewable energy systems are complex and require project team members with on-site renewable energy system expertise. For implementation in New Jersey, project teams should contact the NJ Office of Clean Energy to learn about current programs, tools, and available funding. Critical project-specific variables to consider include location, space, energy costs, available project incentives, local net metering and interconnection policies.

Is Geothermal Energy the Next Solar?

Pre-implementation steps for an on-site renewable energy system project comprise preliminary screening, a renewable energy feasibility study, sizing and design of systems. Photovoltaic PV systems refer to the use of renewable solar energy to create electricity. PV cells placed together in a module are grouped together electrically to form an array. Arrays of PVs applied to surfaces, such as a roof, capture light energy from the sun and produce electricity. The flexibility of installing this on-site renewable energy system makes it a suitable option for existing buildings.

For example, a BIPV skylight not only captures energy, generating electricity for a building, but also provides daylighting see Daylighting. Another strategy incorporates PV technology into an exterior wall for decorative purposes as well as collecting energy. New Jersey has one of the fastest growing markets in PV technology. While projects can tailor PV systems to meet the needs of a particular site and building, south facing surfaces not shaded by nearby trees, buildings, and structures provide the best results.

Some geothermal systems have wells drilled vertically deep underground, while others have horizontal loops a shorter distance below ground.

About 300 vacuum tube collectors support the largest adsorption cooling system of the world

Wind systems provide renewable energy in areas with sufficient wind speed. Prime locations for harvesting wind energy in New Jersey are along the shore. Built-environment wind turbines BEWT refer to projects constructed on, in, or near buildings. Figure 4.

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Solar thermal, whether passive or active, utilizes solar power to heat water for domestic or process uses. Solar thermal water heating systems use tanks and solar collectors. Active water systems also use pumps and controls. Three common types of solar collectors include flat-plate collectors, integral collectors, and evacuated tube collectors. Flat-plate collectors consist of insulated and weatherproof boxes with a dark absorber plate under glass or plastic covers that heats water.

Integral collectors use the same system as a flat-plate collector, but the water continues on to a traditional hot water tank, ensuring a consistent supply of hot water. Evacuated tube collectors consist of rows of transparent tubes that allow water to pass through and heat quickly. Biomass energy systems utilize biomass, a renewable resource, to power facility heating, electric power generation, or combined heat and power CHP systems see Combined Heat and Power CHP.

Fumes from landfills such as methane, a natural gas, provide biomass for electricity generation. In addition to purely biomass-powered electricity generation, consider biomass co-firing, applicable to commercial buildings that already have coal-fired boilers. Coal-fired boilers can handle a pre-mixed combination of coal and biomass. Evacuated tube systems are generally used when higher temperatures or higher volumes of water are needed, as well as for process heating and solar air conditioning systems. Private Home - Washington, D.

Read More. Did You Know? The return on investment can be as little as years. Commercial systems help companies reduce and manage their energy bills, managing long-term costs. Meanwhile, fossil fuel prices fluctuate considerably and are expected to rise significantly over the next decade. Water heating, space heating, and space cooling accounted for 72 percent of the energy used in an average household in the U. In , the U. Since , the U. Hot water solar thermal energy collectors can also be used as the modern "free energy" heat source.

e-book Solar Energy Systems : Heating-Cooling-Electric Power

The reason for this is debated, but commonly suggested reasons include incentive structuring, lack of residential-sized equipment for other solar-cooling technologies, the advent of more efficient electrical coolers, or ease of installation compared to other solar-cooling technologies like radiant cooling.

Since PV cooling's cost effectiveness depends largely on the cooling equipment and given the poor efficiencies in electrical cooling methods until recently [ when? Using more efficient electrical cooling methods and allowing longer payback schedules is changing that scenario. Other systems of different capacity cost even more, let alone battery backup systems, which cost even more.

A more efficient air conditioning system would require a smaller, less-expensive photovoltaic system. There are new non-compressor-based electrical air conditioning systems with a SEER above 20 coming on the market. New versions of phase-change indirect evaporative coolers use nothing but a fan and a supply of water to cool buildings without adding extra interior humidity such as at McCarran Airport Las Vegas Nevada.

Solar-thermal process heat for buildings and production processes

A less-expensive partial-power photovoltaic system can reduce but not eliminate the monthly amount of electricity purchased from the power grid for air conditioning and other uses. Excess PV power generated when air conditioning is not required can be sold to the power grid in many locations, which can reduce or eliminate annual net electricity purchase requirement. See Zero-energy building. Superior energy efficiency can be designed into new construction or retrofitted to existing buildings.

Solar Thermal Panels For Heating & Cooling

Since the U. Department of Energy was created in , their Weatherization Assistance Program [4] has reduced heating-and-cooling load on 5. A hundred million American buildings still need improved weatherization. Careless conventional construction practices are still producing inefficient new buildings that need weatherization when they are first occupied. It is fairly simple to reduce the heating-and-cooling requirement for new construction by one half.

This can often be done at no additional net cost, since there are cost savings for smaller air conditioning systems and other benefits.


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Earth sheltering or earth cooling tubes can take advantage of the ambient temperature of the earth to reduce or eliminate conventional air conditioning requirements. In many climates where the majority of humans live, they can greatly reduce the buildup of undesirable summer heat, and also help remove heat from the interior of the building. They increase construction cost, but reduce or eliminate the cost of conventional air conditioning equipment. Earth cooling tubes are not cost effective in hot humid tropical environments where the ambient Earth temperature approaches human temperature comfort zone.

A solar chimney or photovoltaic -powered fan can be used to exhaust undesired heat and draw in cooler, dehumidified air that has passed by ambient Earth temperature surfaces. Control of humidity and condensation are important design issues.

Our Sun's True Power - Thermal Solar energy-

A geothermal heat pump uses ambient earth temperature to improve SEER for heat and cooling. These "open loop" systems were the most common in early systems, however water quality could cause damage to the coils in the heat pump and shorten the life of the equipment. Another method is a closed loop system, in which a loop of tubing is run down a well or wells, or in trenches in the lawn, to cool an intermediate fluid. When wells are used, they are back-filled with Bentonite or another grout material to ensure good thermal conductivity to the earth. Propylene glycol is viscous, and would eventually gum up some parts in the loop s , so it has fallen out of favor.

Today [ when? Ambient earth temperature is much lower than peak summer air temperature, and much higher than the lowest extreme winter air temperature. Water is 25 times more thermally conductive than air, so it is much more efficient than an outside air heat pump, which becomes less effective when the outside temperature drops in winter.

The same type of geothermal well can be used without a heat pump but with greatly diminished results. Ambient earth temperature water is pumped through a shrouded radiator like an automobile radiator. Air is blown across the radiator, which cools without a compressor-based air conditioner. Photovoltaic solar electric panels produce electricity for the water pump and fan, eliminating conventional air-conditioning utility bills. This concept is cost-effective, as long as the location has ambient earth temperature below the human thermal comfort zone not the tropics.


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The desiccant is then regenerated by using solar thermal energy to dehumidify, in a cost-effective, low-energy-consumption, continuously repeating cycle. Energy recovery ventilation systems provide a controlled way of ventilating a home while minimizing energy loss. Air is passed through an " enthalpy wheel " often using silica gel to reduce the cost of heating ventilated air in the winter by transferring heat from the warm inside air being exhausted to the fresh but cold supply air. In the summer, the inside air cools the warmer incoming supply air to reduce ventilation cooling costs.

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