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Solar Water Heating for Space Heating

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Solar energy can also be used for space heating as an alternative to fossil fuels.

If you want to use solar water heating for space heating your building, you can use a similar type of panel that can be up to 10 panels in a bank, and as many banks as you need.


Space heating typically represents 57% of the total energy consumption by a building.

Combining this with domestic hot water production (~25%), gives a total of 82% of the total energy consumed.

Solar water heating is the lowest cost energy source:   It's free for the taking.  You can get up to 80% of your total space heating energy free from the sun.


Roof top solar water heating panels, 10 panels per bank, 2 banks, for a total of 20 panels, producing a nominal 20 kW of pure, clean, green power.


Solar energy heat exchange system to transfer the energy from the solar collectors into your building.

Why can't the sun supply 100% of your heating needs?

For Northern climates such as Canada, the sun is too weak, the weather too cloudy, and the climate too cold in winter to use solar for 100% of your space heating needs.  You need a back-up system.  If you build too big a solar system, it will stand useless for a majority of the year, and you will produce way too much heat during the summer.

However solar can economically provide 50% to 80% of your total energy needs for space heating.  Since solar energy is free for the taking, this could mean a 50% to 80% reduction of your space heating costs.  Since space heating and DHW is 82% of your total energy consumption, your energy bills can be cut by up to 64%.

Firewood is generally considered GHG (Green House Gas) neutral, so an air tight, high efficiency wood stove is ideal to supplement solar water heating.

Radiant floor heating is ideal for use of solar water heating.  Hydronic heating radiators (eg. baseboard hot water radiators) require a much higher water temperature, so they will work, but are not ideal for solar water heating.

Next best is an instantaneous water heater powered by natural gas or propane.

Worst of all for the environment and your pocketbook is electric baseboard heating.

To find out more, contact Pioneer Systems.

We can do a heat balance for your building, estimate the available solar energy, and show you a computer simulation of the different alternative fuels and systems for heating your building, and how that will change over the next 30 years.

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Page Last Modified:   04-May-2009 05:45:36 PM -0500