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Welcome to Solar Planet's Learning Center.  Our mission is to educate our users about solar power systems and promote the adoption of solar energy. We also offer a free comprehensive guide to solar energy systems, Solar Energy Made Simple, just for signing up for our newsletter.  You can receive critical news, webinar notices, and information about ongoing events.


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Communicate Solar


Unless you’re a chemist or engineering buff, you’re likely to stumble across a few unfamiliar words in your quest to transform your abode into a solar-energy-wielding powerhouse. The good news is that you won’t have to go back to school or buy a book on solar energy to comprehend these solar power systems. You just need a glossary handy to give you a crash course in the important solar terms


Absorber: The tinted surface that absorbs the solar radiation and converts it to heat energy.


Active System: A solar heating or cooling system that requires its own external mechanical transmitting equipment to move collected heat


Ambient Temperature: The temperature of the air surrounding the solar energy system.


Auxiliary Heat: Extra heat provided by a traditional heating system during periods of cloudiness, inclement weather or intense cold when a solar power unit cannot provide enough power.


Coefficient of Heat Transmission: The hourly rate of heat loss in British Thermal Units when the difference between indoor and outdoor air temperature is 1 degree Fahrenheit.


Collector Efficiency: The ratio of usable heat energy taken from a solar collector to the amount of solar energy striking the surface.


Converter - An electrical apparatus that can change the quality or quantity of electrical energy.


Degree Day: A unit that represents a fall of 1 degree below the specified average outdoor temperature (usually 18°C or 65°F) for one day.


Diffuse Radiation: Indirect sunlight scattered by water vapor, dust and air molecules.


Direct Radiation: Direct sunlight straight from the sun, resulting in shadows cast on a clear day.


Grid-Connected System - A photovoltaic array acts as a central generator, supplying power to an electric grid system.


Headers: The pipe running across the edge of the solar collector array, which gathers or distributes the heat transfer fluid and maintains pressure.


Heat Exchanger: A coiled copper tube immersed in a water tank that transfers heat from one fluid to another.


Heat Storage Capacity: The amount of heat that can be stored.


Hybrid Solar Energy System: A renewable energy system that uses both active and passive methods.


Kilowatt-hour (kWh): A measure of electrical energy equaling power consumption of 1,000 watts for 1 hour.


Megawatt – A unit of measurement equaling 1,000 Kilowatts or 1 million watts. One megawatt can power approximately 1,000 California homes.


Passive Solar Energy System: A solar power system that uses no external mechanical power to move heat.


Percentage of Possible Sunshine: The percentage of daylight hours where there is enough direct solar radiation to cast a shadow.



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