What are the different types
There are two basic types of solar collectors:
solar thermal and solar photovoltaic.
(PV) collectors absorb light energy from the sun for the generation
. The power generated can be fed back into
the main electrical grid, or be used as a self-contained system
What type of solar
is the best?
The best type of solar is whatever is best suited
to your house or building (click on the links to learn more):
- Most people who heat their pool using natural gas or electricity
will spend more money doing so than they do on heating hot water
in the home - a solar
pool heater would be best in this case.
- Having a roof surface that faces directly south with no shading
is optimal for any type of solar, but a PV
system under the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program will
generate the best return on investment.
- A household or a business that constantly uses a lot of hot
water is best off with a solar
Is there enough sunlight in Ontario to justify going solar?
The amount of energy generated by a solar system
depends on the amount of solar radiation that reaches the solar
collectors - this value is called solar
insolation. Insolation is primarily affected by
your geographic location, but changes based on seasonal weather
patterns, smog, and other factors. In London and area, we receive
in a day, on average, 4.2 kWh/m²
(facing due south at a tilt angle equal to latitude). Berlin, Germany
and Tokyo, Japan are two of the leading cities in the world for
installed solar capacity, and their daily average insolation values
are 2.6 kWh/m²
and 3.7 kWh/m²,
respectively. If Germany and Japan can do it, Ontario can, too!
Should I be making energy
or saving energy?
As noted by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
in the article What's
a Negawatt Worth?, conserving energy
is much more cost efficient than generating energy.
The amount of energy generated by a solar
water-heating system in a year (around 3000
kWh) means that
much energy does not need to be generated in the first place, meaning
a reduced need for power plants fuelled by nuclear or fossil fuels.