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How to Heat a Greenhouse with Solar Panels

By Benjamin Strusnik May 17, 2022

Nowadays, many households prefer cost-effective and environmentally friendly heating options. Solar heating is one of the most effective methods.

That’s why solar panels for schools and solar panels for apartments are becoming popular. 

Solar panels can power an entire house, but it doesn’t end there, selling a house with solar panels can in fact increase the house value. 

In this article, we'll walk you through how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels, explain to you how solar collectors work, what types of heating systems there are and what advantages they have. 

By the end of this article, you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not solar panel systems are the best option for heating your greenhouse.

How Solar Panels Work

Although the question may seem simple, the solution can be quite complex. Solar panels today come in a variety of technologies, all of which work differently. However, we'll focus on explaining how solar panel technology works in greenhouses. In other words, photovoltaic technology.

how you can heat a greenhouse with solar panels

Solar panels are devices that convert solar energy into electricity and store it in photovoltaic cells. Contrary to popular belief, they don't need the bright, blinding sun to generate energy. Since solar modules don't require direct sunlight, they can generate electricity even on dull days.

Let's take a look at each phase of the process. The first phase is the most obvious: direct current is generated when sunlight hits the panels. This unregulated direct current is sent through a conduction system to an inverter, which converts it to alternating current. 

This is the electricity that powers everyday appliances like hairdryers and charges your cell phone's battery.

This technology is similar to the way electricity providers supply electricity to homes and businesses, but it's completely free.

The Equipment

Before we get started, make sure you've all the materials you need. All you need is a solar panel kit to get started. What you'll find inside is as follows:

  • Housing
  • Alligator clip
  • Solar panel
  • Voltage sensor for the battery
  • Handle and fasteners
  • Temperature sensor
  • Charge controller

This is what you need to assemble the solar module. The steps to install the solar panel are described in the next section. Let's start with the following instructions.

Steps To Heat the Greenhouse with Solar Panels

1. Make a Plan

First of all, you need to determine where and how you want to place your solar panels. First, you need to determine the dimensions of the solar panels and make sure you've enough space to install them. Check if the roof is big enough to accommodate the panels.

different ways to heat a greenhouse with solar panels

Another thing to consider is how much weight your roof can support and which direction you want the panels to face. You need to make sure that the panels are facing the direction in which the sunlight falls. This way you can make the most of the sunlight.

2. Install support

After the planning is done, you then install the brackets, locks, and handles. These components are used to attach the panels to the roof. Make sure the panels are angled correctly so they face the sun.

You can also purchase a mounting rail system that allows you to adjust the angle of the panels at any time. If you feel that the current brackets aren't enough, you can purchase additional brackets to ensure that your panel doesn't fall down.

3. Connect Them All

You need to make sure that all the panels have been connected. First, make sure all the cables are properly insulated and waterproof. Connect a ground wire to the grounded fasteners. This ensures that you don't get electrocuted, so make sure you do it properly.

4. Install the Solar Panels

Now that the assembly is complete, you need to install the photovoltaic system. It should be placed in a dry, well-ventilated area of the house, where it's not humid. Usually, the garage is a good choice. Install it and cover it with the protective cover.

5. Complete Your Installation

The next step is to connect the inverter to the circuit breaker panel of your house AC. Then connect the DC circuit breaker and the PV system components to the PV lines. Finally, connect the DC main breaker to the inverter mentioned earlier. When it's ready, you only have to test the solar modules.

Advantages of Using Solar Energy in the Greenhouse

solar panels in greenhouses

Using solar panels to heat your greenhouse can give you a number of benefits that will help you now and in the future. Some of the benefits of solar greenhouses are listed below.

1. Cost Reduction

Installing a solar greenhouse will cost you money at first, but later on, you won't have any operating costs. You don't need another source of electricity, which means you'll save a lot of money on electricity costs.

2. Easy to Implement

It's not hard to build a solar greenhouse. You don't have to put a lot of effort or know everything about it to make it work.

3. Reliability

Solar greenhouses work easily and smoothly when they're set up properly.

It gets its energy from the sun, so you won't be without power when the power goes out or maintenance is needed; you'll always be ready to go whether you have a solar panel for a tiny house or a big building. 

4. It's Environmentally Friendly

Heat a Greenhouse with Solar Panels

One of the main benefits of a solar greenhouse is that you're also doing something for the environment and significantly reducing your carbon footprint.

5. No Interruptions Due to Power Outages

With a solar system in your greenhouse, you won't have to worry about power outages or interruptions. The greenhouse will keep your plants and crops warm at all times. Even if it's cold outside, a power outage at night is enough to harm your plants.

Types of Solar Greenhouse Systems

Active Solar Systems

An active solar greenhouse system collects solar energy and converts it into electrical energy. The energy is collected, stored, and converted with external devices such as fans, heaters, and water pumps. Without these devices, you can’t use solar energy to heat a greenhouse.

In an active solar system, PV collectors serve as sunlight collectors. These collectors are stationary devices that use liquid and air to collect and convert energy. Hydronic collectors are used to collect water, while air collectors are used to collect air.

One of the advantages of a solar greenhouse is that it doesn't depend solely on the sun, since the energy is stored externally. It's also quiet, and the heat from the collectors keeps it clean in all weather conditions.

 number of ways to heat your greenhouse

Passive Solar System

Unlike active solar greenhouses, passive solar greenhouses don't require additional equipment. However, it depends on the structure and design of the greenhouse. Thermal mass or an object that stores heat, such as concrete, floors, stones, walls, or water tanks, stores solar energy.

The passive solar system keeps the greenhouse warm by insulating it at night. The thermal mass in this type of system heats up quickly and cools down slowly, which is an advantage.

You don't have to spend money on external equipment, but the right window panes are required for the heating to work. If you live in a hot climate, it can also overheat.

Conclusion

There are several ways to heat a greenhouse with solar panels. The best solution depends on your climate, your location, and the type of greenhouse you have

Solar panels are a highly effective and efficient way to heat your greenhouse. However, it's more difficult than a passive solar system.

Consult a solar expert if you're not sure which solution is ideal for you. He can advise you on the best ways to heat greenhouses with solar energy.

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