Solar energy is becoming popular among households and residences to help them cut down electricity expenses. If you are interested in harnessing the power of sunlight via a solar panel, you need to install one right now. You’ll probably come across two solar systems – active and passive.
While active solar energy is produced with the help of a mechanical device to store and distribute it, passive solar energy doesn’t use such equipment. Both are efficient, but there are differences in the way they absorb and process sunlight to produce electricity.
This article will discuss active solar energy, the related devices, and its difference from passive solar energy.
A Brief Definition Of Active Solar Energy
Active solar energy can be considered the form of energy that can be captured and preserved for future use. This form of energy is enhanced by using mechanical or electronic equipment, making it a more efficient and sustainable form of energy.
The systems producing active solar energy use devices such as collectors, pumps, blows, and voltage controllers to capture and process direct sunlight. These systems also include batteries that can store the energy for future use.
This stored energy can be used to provide electricity for buildings or heat them. Besides homes and commercial properties, active solar energy can be utilized anywhere, requiring a low temperature.
How Do Active Solar Systems Work?
Active solar energy systems use solar energy for heating fluids or a liquid. You can consider this a way to capture the heat for further use. Liquids are used as they are good conductors of heat and energy.
Initially, the solar energy is collected in a container called a solar collector. The collector is an insulated box that is covered with glass. Also known as a flat plate collector, this box has black plates inside it, absorbing solar energy and converting it into heat.
After that, the heat is transferred to air or fluid within the collector. Depending on if it is liquid or air-based, the heat is further moved for storage. If the system is liquid-based, solar energy will be stored using thermal mass or water tanks.
On the other hand, if it is air-based, the solar energy in the form of warm air will be stored inside bins usually made of rock.
For distributing this stored solar energy, radiant slabs, pumps, or hot water baseboards can be used in the case of liquid-based systems. Fans and ducts are used for distributing the heated air in air-based systems.
What Are The Benefits Of Active Solar Energy?
Besides being a source of green and clean energy, which is also sustainable, active solar energy has these amazing benefits –
- Even if the installation gets a little expensive, active solar energy makes it up with the reduction in your electric bills. If you plan to live somewhere for years or set up an office space, this can be an excellent move.
- It’s an excellent way to keeps interiors heated and warm, especially during cold climates.
- The panels are robust in design and long-lasting, usually with a warranty of more than a decade. So, it’s a great bang for your buck.
- It can easily heat the water in your pool by passing it through the solar collectors. After heating, the water can be transferred back to the pool area.
- You can use active solar systems to heat the water in your residence effectively. Here, the pumps will circulate the water for use.
- These systems produce no emissions and have a lower carbon footprint.
What Is Passive Solar Energy?
Passive solar energy is produced by systems that don’t depend on any external devices to absorb and store solar energy. These devices have passive collectors to absorb the heat and transform it into usable energy. As they’re based on the laws of thermodynamics, these systems are not complicated like active solar panels.
For producing passive solar energy, specially manufactured windows are positioned on the southern side of a building to capture sun rays. Passive solar energy is excellent for heating and cooling residences, especially small ones.
This form of solar energy is cost-efficient and eco-friendly. There are no hassles of external equipment, which makes installing passive solar energy systems simpler. You will also save a lot of installation expenses.
Another important advantage of passive solar energy is that it doesn’t lead to any allergies or health complications. So, you can say it’s a good investment for a small establishment.
However, as passive solar energy production depends on the weather, heavy rains or cloudy weather won’t be of much help.
Differences Between Active And Passive Solar Energy
Let’s check out the differences between active and passive solar energy:
|Passive Solar Energy||Active Solar Energy|
|This form of energy is produced without the assistance of any external devices.||Here, energy is produced with the help of external devices such as collectors, pumps, and blowers.|
|No air or fluid is used, it is purely based on the laws of thermodynamics.||Air or fluid is used to capture heat and turn it into energy.|
|The solar heat is captured using specialized walls or roofs within the passive heating system’s architecture.||The solar heat is captured by an insulated box called a solar collector.|
|Initial installation and setup of a passive solar system are simple.||Installation and setup can be complicated, as there are multiple components of an active solar system.|
|This type of energy can only be produced in areas having sufficient sunlight and southern exposure.||Active solar energy can be produced anywhere and in any building construction.|
If you live in an area that doesn’t have sufficient sunlight, active solar energy systems will be the best fit. Even if they’re a bit expensive, they offer a steady source of energy for your office or residence.
On the other hand, if you have a small apartment or office with plenty of sunlight in your surroundings, you can’t go wrong with passive solar energy. However, you might face issues in regulating the temperature while using passive solar systems.