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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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