4 Differences Between Passive Vs Active Solar Energy

4 Unique Differences Between Passive Vs Active Solar Energy

Solar energy is the rising form of renewable energy technology in this world. Solar energy accounts for 3.1% [1] of the global electricity generation.  To learn more about Solar Energy Systems, one should learn about the different kinds of Solar Energy Systems and differences between Passive Vs Active Solar Energy Systems. One can take advantage of active and passive solar systems to capture the solar power and turn that into a usable energy source, for example, electricity. 

passive vs active solar energy
Passive Solar Energy Design

But firstly, it’s essential to ask yourself what passive and active solar energy means? How do the active and passive systems work? 

Well, Keep reading to explore more about passive and active solar energy technology.

How Does Solar Panels Function To Convert Solar Heat? 

Solar Collector Systems

Solar panels made of powerful solar cells are gaining worldwide popularity in recent decades. Solar panels support passive solar designs by capturing solar energy. Per the report, more than 66K solar panel systems during the first quarter of 2019. 

Every solar panel has solar cells that have silicon semiconductor wafers. When the cells receive sunlight, they create a PV-Photovoltaic effect to convert the sun’s photons into electricity. Solar cells are also called solar collectors. Wondering how to use solar energy during the night? The panels absorb the heat energy consumed from sunlight throughout the day and store it in the battery. So at night, you can use the stored power. 

Everyone should have access to clean external energy sources. And investing in quality solar panels will help lower your energy bills and greenhouse emissions. Using this solar power, you can heat the water tank, and run the mechanical device and other pieces of equipment. 

Understanding The Difference between Active Vs Passive Solar Energy Systems

Both the systems are solar collectors and can convert power consumed from sunlight into electricity. 

Active Solar System 

Solar Power Collectors

The active solar panels’ system functions by heating fluid or liquid inside a solar collector. After that, the active system transfers the energy to water through a heat exchanger, or you can blow the heat into your house using devices called air collectors. 

For maximum success, you should use solar hot water with a central heating system, and through this, you can keep the radiators warm and maintain a warm climate throughout the year. 

Some Positive Things About Active Solar Systems

The primary construction materials used in the active solar energy systems are PV panels whose primary purpose is to retain heat. Such panels utilize advanced designs generally created by adjoining multiple solar panels together. 

Solar collectors help in storing and conducting solar energy. 

The liquid conductors are also called hydronic collectors. And the external devices that use air are known as air collectors. 

Passive Solar Energy System

In simple words, a passive system doesn’t use any moving parts, controllers, or electronics. However, they depend entirely on the absorption of solar rays in thermal mass instead of these. 

Speaking about thermal mass, it is a material that absorbs and stores heat. Some perfect examples of this are earth, rock, water, concrete, wood, and clay. 

Are you wondering how the passive system functions? Most professional architects design passive buildings[1] carefully by combining different passive collectors to perfect thermal mass.

They generally use large windows on the southern side to get excess sunlight. As a result, the house will receive more sunlight or solar radiation. 

When the sunlight enters the building, the passive elements will absorb and retain the heat. With time, your house will start releasing heat, keeping your house warm for a longer time. 

If you see it carefully, you will understand that most modern houses are designed this way. Such design will make the home more power-efficient and increase the resale value of the property in the future. 

You may note that the overall design of passive solar power collectors is done by considering the “law of thermodynamics.” It suggests heat always transfers to cool surfaces from warm surfaces. 

The success of a passive solar energy model will also depend on the system’s orientation and the walls’ thermal absorption ability. 

Some Positive Things About Passive Solar Systems

For this, you don’t have to use any external devices. As a result, the entire configuration will be very cheap. As per the experts, the overall energy expenditure costs are lower than 12 percent to 15 percent in a few months.

The best part is that such a setup doesn’t create allergies, and you don’t have to worry about the drying out of mucous membranes. 

Final Words 

So, here you have the difference between active and passive solar systems. While active solar energy systems utilize different moving parts, assisting you in improving the overall efficiency of the passive solar energy buildings. But passive heating is still considered an effective way to lower the monthly electricity bills.

Most sustainability experts say that passive solar energy systems are a good choice unless you fuel a large campus or building. But if you want faster results, you can go for an active solar panel system. However, before making any decision, prefer to go through the pros and cons of these energy systems. But no matter what, you need to buy a good quality solar panel for both the energy systems to process the sun’s energy. 

Before you start thinking about whether you should switch to active or passive solar energy, you should ask yourself if you are ready to move to fossil fuels or solar energy? 

Even though you will be contributing toward a sustainable environment, you should always compare the pros and cons to make an informed decision. 

Remember that you can’t meet energy requirements using such panels if your business or house needs more power. Different studies say that around 15 percent of sunrays captured can produce usable energy with the panels installed on the roof. Besides, your location will also play an important role here. If you live in a rainy and cloudy environment, you will have to use solar inverters or batteries to store power. So, think about all these things, and then take your steps. 

FAQs

What Is The Difference Between Passive Vs Active Solar Energy Systems? 

Even though both the terms are connected to solar energy systems, active solar energy and passive sun energy are different. Regarding passive solar systems, these are generally structures whose materials, placement, and designs can help the flat-plate PV panels convert rays more effectively. On the other hand, active solar systems have devices and external equipment to convert the sun’s rays into usable energy like electricity and heating systems. Compared to passive solar systems, active solar systems are very cost-effective. 

While active solar systems capture sun rays as electricity to augment your solar energy systems, a passive solar system depends on the sun’s heat created by the sun as it comes into the roofs, walls, and windows of your building. To get better results from the passive solar system, you should create large south-facing windows or glass windows to get more sun rays. 

What Is A Good Example Of Active Solar Energy? 

The active solar system utilizes energy to heat your building. Some examples of active solar systems are gas heaters, radiators, wood heaters, electric fact heaters, and other mechanical devices. 

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