Solar PV and Solar Thermal: Knowing the Difference

With so many buzzwords for commercial solar being thrown around following its boost in popularity, it is okay to accept that you may not know any difference between Solar PV and Solar Thermal. Surely solar is all based around the same things, right?

Whilst they are both solar solutions, they are two different types of panels. In both technologies, the principles are the same. They both use the same energy source; the sun and energy are then converted into electricity. Let’s take a close look so that you can understand exactly where the differences come in.

The Basic Differences

Solar thermal provides hot water to your home and runs an air conditioner, helping to run a few home appliances. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) is what generates electricity for homes and businesses. When we say it like that, the operation of solar PV is a much larger scope in terms of usage in comparison to solar thermal.

It depends on how you want to use solar energy and which system is best suited to your circumstances. To make that determination between Solar Thermal and Solar PV, let’s break them down a little further to get a better understanding.

Solar Thermal

Solar thermal panels utilise the sun’s energy and convert it into heat, which can be then transferred to the heating system in your business or home as heat or hot water. Like solar PV, thermal panels are typically installed on roofs and used in conjunction with an immersion heater, boiler or collector.

The solar collector uses the sun’s rays to heat a transfer fluid that keeps the water from freezing. Once the water has been heated from the collector, it gets pumped into a heat exchanger inside the water tank. The exchanger’s heat will then heat the water inside the tank and, after the liquid releases its heat, the water flows back to the collector for reheating.

With enough heat available, the controller works to ensure that fluid circulates to the collector. Naturally, this solution reduces your carbon footprint whilst cutting down on your energy bills, working 24 hours a day to make your property efficient, environmentally friendly and low on costs.

Solar PV Panels

Solar PV panels directly transform solar energy into electrical energy by way of collecting the sun’s rays. These panels consist of small components known as photovoltaic cells.

A solar PV panel operates in a way that allows light particles – or photons – to heat electrons from atoms which then generates an electrical current. This collected energy source is then converted into DC electricity by the solar panels and fed through an inverter to produce AC electricity.

Solar PV is one of the most popular renewable energy sources in the 2020s, enabling homes and businesses to reduce electricity bills generated from the national grid whilst having a low maintenance cost. Solar PV cells can generate electricity anywhere, just requiring sunlight and being both environmentally friendly and helping to boost your property value.

Both Solar Thermal and Solar PV are great forms of green energy and provide energy solutions that truly benefit your property. Contact the team at Positive Energy Solutions today to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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