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Articles Informational Topics

How Does Solar Heating Work?–An Informative Guide

Generating electricity is not all that solar panels can do. Solar energy is the most reliable source of renewable energy from the Sun.

Other solar technologies rely on the sun’s energy to heat homes and reduce energy bills. How does solar heating work?

how does solar heating work

Solar energy is used to power home appliances and extensively as a heating mechanism in homes and offices.

However, this solar energy can be utilized effectively for heating if specific measures are taken.

This informative guide will inform you how solar heating works and what you do to maximize its benefits.

How Does Solar Heating Work?

Solar energy can be used in several ways to generate heat. These uses for solar heat are found in solar water heating, solar space heating, and solar pool heating.

A solar heating system captures the sun’s radiation for hot water heating and supplements home heating through radiators for indoor heating.

Solar heating uses photovoltaic cells to power up electrons, generating heat when light shines on them.

The thermal photovoltaic cells are responsible for providing heat to home systems.

Since it is dependent on sunlight, the heating provided by solar panels is reliable and does not involve any fumes or gas.

Types Of Solar Energy Heating:

There are two types of solar energy heating:

Passive Solar Heating:

A building that captures sunlight relies on passive solar energy for heating. This technique is named passive as there is no use of electricity or mechanical technology.

However, thermal mass in the walls can be used to capture the sun’s rays and use them to heat homes effectively.

Active Solar Heating:

Consisting of collectors which collect and absorb solar radiation, active solar heating relies on pumps and electric fans to distribute and transfer solar heat.

In an active solar heating mechanism, a collector made up of flat PV panels collects solar energy from the sun.

As the air and liquid inside the pipe are warmed, this heat is carried directly to the interior space and then stored in a storage system.

Working Mechanism:

Solar heating works with the help of solar thermal cells. Solar collectors or solar thermal panels are devices mounted on rooftops to capture the sun’s heat and heat water stored in a cylinder.

The foremost principle of solar thermal heating is to use the sun’s energy and convert it into heat, which is then transferred into the heating system in the shape of hot water or heated air.

The Mechanism Of Solar Heating:

The primary heat generation source is the panels mounted on rooftops that are used alongside the boiler, collector, and immersion heater.

The thermal collector uses the sun’s rays to heat transfer fluid. The transfer fluid is a mixture of water and glycol, preventing the water from freezing.

This hot water is then pumped to a heat exchanger found inside the water tank in your home.

The heat from the exchanger then heats the water inside the tank.

Once the liquid cools down and loses heat, the water flows back to a collector for re-heating. A controller ensures the fluid circulates to the collector in case of sufficient heat.

Uses Of Solar Heat:

A solar heating system converts solar energy into usable heat that can be used to heat home interiors or water. The most common uses of solar heat are;

  • Solar water heating
  • Solar space heating
  • Solar pool heating

Solar Water Heating:

Solar water heating is a reliable and effective way to produce heat and reduce the cost of heating water for your homes.

A solar water heating solution reduces reliance on traditional heating modes such as oil, electricity, and natural gas.

The solar hot water system captures the sun’s thermal energy for heating water. These systems can either be passive or active.

While passive systems use gravity and natural circulation, dynamic systems rely on pumps and controls to produce heat for water.

Solar Space Heating:

Solar space heating uses the sun’s energy to heat home interiors and spaces.

The solar collectors use thermal energy from the sun to heat either liquid or air, which is then further dispersed as heat.

Like solar water heating, these solar space heating systems require more collectors and bigger storage units.

Passive solar space heating systems consist of collectors that collect energy while naturally circulating the trapped heat.

On the other hand, active solar space heating systems rely on pumps and other mechanisms to distribute heat.

Solar Pool Heating:

Solar pool heating is an effective and great way to harness the sun’s energy to heat the pool water.

A solar pool heater uses thermal panels to collect the sun’s heat and transfer it to pool water.

Although similar to photovoltaic panels, these thermal panels have spaces between flowing and heating up the pool water.

A solar pool heater requires little maintenance and will likely last 10 to 20 years if properly installed and maintained.

Advantages Of Solar Thermal Energy:


Solar thermal energy does not produce any pollutants or harmful fumes which might negatively impact the environment.

Not surprisingly, solar thermal energy is a safe alternative to traditional energy sources with heavy carbon footprints


Solar energy is a renewable energy source, unlike fossil fuels, petroleum, or natural gas.

Renewable energy sources such as the sun increase the chances of longevity, making them more long-lasting and reliable.

Low Maintenance:

Although costly in the initial installation phases, solar thermal energy requires minimal maintenance.

In addition, many solar thermal devices that heat water require more simple technology than photovoltaic panels.

Disadvantages Of Solar Thermal Energy:


Solar thermal panels’ efficiency is reduced considerably during cloudy or overcast days, which means it is less consistent than fossil fuels in generating optimal energy for electricity generation.

Storage Difficulty:

Sunlight and hot water cannot be stored, unlike fossil fuels, which can be stored for later use.

Users of thermal power cannot store large amounts of hot water for the last service, which reduces its reliability as an effective means of heat generation.


Solar thermal energy is a reliable and effective way to heat home spaces, water, and pools. However, the mechanism of how solar heating works depends on its proper installation, usage, and maintenance. Nevertheless, solar thermal energy does not face the risk of depletion and hence, can be used as an effective way to produce thermal energy.

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About the author

Anthony Miller

Hello Guys! I am Anthony Miller, a high dynamo, communicative author, and editor of the Renewable Cop, always providing amazing, engaging, informative, unique, highly researched, and verified content based on all sorts of generators. Read more.

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