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.
find a solar
Search our solar directory for pros in your area
Learning CenterWelcome 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.
Its such a hassle searching for good quality solar companies to get bids from. Using Solar Planet saved us hours of time and the companies they matched us with were top notch!
Ken & Bree
Solar Planet offered help locating the most qualified installers in our area and ensured we knew the processes necessary to obtain financing and rebates! Thanks so much!
Peter & Rose
Thanks SOLAR PLANET, for helping us find professional installation in our area.
John & Brigite
Solar CompaniesJoin Our Network Of Installers JOIN NOW
10 Solar Projects For Beginners
Do you have plans this weekend? We've got some DIY solar projects for you!