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Solar Heating Systems: Storage mediums and temperature control strategies for predictable and consistent performance

From Solar Pro Magazine, Apr/May 2010 written by Boaz Soifer, Bristol Stickney

“Residential solar installations are on the rise nationwide, but deployment of solar space-heating systems lags well behind photovoltaic, solar pool heating and domestic water heating technologies. A variety of factors contribute to this trend. Foremost among them is the complexity of space-heating system design and installation, especially heat storage and system controls. Space heating represents more than 40% of home energy use. As more proven designs and modular components are brought to market, many heating contractors will routinely offer solar heating.

For solar heating to become mainstream, systems need to have consistent, predictable performance and offer a user interface that is comparable to conventional heating systems. The customer should have to adjust only the thermostat, and the rest of the system should take care of itself. If the control approach sheds excess solar heat into a concrete floor, the floor’s temperature must not fluctuate dramatically. Customers do not want rooms overheating due to excessive system output. If a hot tub or swimming pool is used to shed excess heat, a safe high limit temperature must be maintained.” read more

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