Solar Thermal

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The amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the earth every hour contains enough energy to meet the world’s energy demand for an entire year. As a global leader in energy efficiency and sustainability, Johnson Controls wants to help you harness a portion of the sun’s energy to help you meet your energy needs using this most renewable of resources.

Solar energy can be converted indirectly (thermal solar) into heat through thermal collectors. The resulting heat can reduce, or possibly eliminate, the need for water heaters.

Solar thermal energy is created by absorbing the heat of the sun with collecting devices such as flat-plate solar-energy collectors. Air or a heat collecting fluid passes through tubes within the collecting devices where it is warmed and then distributed to the appropriate heating system. Solar thermal power plants take the heated fluid process one step forward through the use of a heat transfer system to produce steam. The steam can then be converted into mechanical energy in a turbine, and into electricity from a conventional generator coupled to the turbine.

Is this the right technology for my situation?

The following factors are important for solar thermal to be a viable option.
A relatively high cost per unit for heat
Close proximity of collector panels to need location
A high load factor or consistent heat use year round

Solar Power Facts:

(Source: Solarbuzz.com)
Worldwide photovoltaic installations increased by 1,744 MW in 2005, up from 1,460 MW installed during the previous year. In 1985, annual solar installation demand was only 21 MW.
For comparison purposes, total worldwide wind energy installations in 2000 were around 4,000 MW, growing at about 35% per annum.
Cumulative solar energy production accounts for less than 0.01% of total Global Primary Energy demand.
Solar Energy demand has grown at about 25% per annum over the past 15 years (hydrocarbon energy demand typically grows between 0-2% per annum).
The US market showed 33% growth in 2006.

To read a more in-depth review of the technologies, visit the NREL website:

http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_solar.html

Did You Know?

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