SolarDucts: Heating Air and Generating Power

Solar Ducts and Photovoltaics
Solar energy is often used to heat water or generate electricity, but it can also be used to heat air. The SolarDuct is a new device that uses sunlight to heat air before it enter a ventilator. They are modular units that can be installed on buildings with flat roofs.

Solar Duct Detail

SolarDucts can also be used to remove heat from the back of traditional solar panels. Conserval Engineering is introducing the SolarDuct PV/T, which is a combination of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal in one assembly. The SolarDuct technology is based on their successful SolarWall product, which is being used by the US Army, Canadian Government, NASA, Ford, Federal Express, Wal-Mart and 3M.

Solar Wall Heating Air For Buildings

The SolarWall at the 3M plant in Perth, Ontario saves the company about $6000 per year in heating costs.


Comments

  1. Matt the Engineer says

    I’m curious about how this is used. Buildings generally need cooling, not heating, when the sun is out.

  2. says

    Hot air can drive ventilation and speed air flow in hot summer months just as it can heat a room during winter. This is something that has been known at least since Edward Sylvester Morse incorporated the idea into his solar air ventilation system circa 1888.

    SolarWall is a system that heats outside air before it enters a building and is very efficient from the performance standards and presentations I’ve seen. They’ve been around for a couple of decades and have a good reputation in the business.

  3. Matt the Engineer says

    [gmoke] For any appriciable effect you need both a temperature difference and a difference in height. You definately have that for the solar walls, but the SolarDuct is located on the roof.

    I think the intent is to use it for heating. But again, this would only be useful for the few hours during the year in most climates when it’s cold out yet sunny.

  4. says

    I love the idea of using solar panels to heat the air. We have a small one installed on our roof. We’ve also save quite a lot of money by just keeping our furnace filters and air conditioning filters changed.

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