Active solar

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Active solar technologies are employed to convert solar energy into usable light, heat, cause air-movement for ventilation or cooling, or store heat for future use. Active solar uses electrical or mechanical equipment, such as pumps and fans, to increase the usable heat in a system. Solar energy collection and utilization systems that do not use external energy, like a solar chimney, are classified as passive solar technologies.

Solar hot water systems, except those based on the thermosiphon, use pumps or fans to circulate water, an anti-freeze mixture, or air through solar collectors, and are therefore classified under active solar technology. The solar collectors can be nonconcentrating or 'flat-plate', or of various concentrating designs. Most solar-thermal collectors have fixed mounting, but can have a higher performance if they track the path of the sun through the sky. Solar trackers, used to orient photovoltaic arrays or daylighting, may be driven by either passive or active technology.

Contents

Solar technology comparison

Active solar-thermal systems, via small pumps or fans, can have significantly higher solar savings fractions than passive solar technologies due to greatly enhanced heat transfer and transport. Many of the most advanced technologies to actively use solar energy are photovoltaics, or solar energy systems. These are often remunerated through feed in tariffs[1], which are the most effective means of promoting solar energy.

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