There are several reasons why knowing how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels may benefit your gardening efforts:
- One, it’s cheaper. Unlike the national grid where you face astronomical power bills, solar energy is a gift from nature
- Then, solar is considered environmentally friendly and reduces your carbon footprint
- It’s very reliable. At no point will you experience cases of power blackouts or brownouts meaning you can bet on it to save your plants all the time
Types of greenhouse solar heating systems
For a start, you need some solar panel kits for greenhouses
Then, you’ve to choose between working with either an active or a passive solar heating system.
- Active solar greenhouse heating
This type use mechanisms such as fans, blowers, and pumps to improve heat distribution through the entire greenhouse.
- passive solar greenhouse heating
A passive system doesn’t have anything electrical within it–the whole process from collection of heat to eventual circulation takes place in a natural manner.
How do solar greenhouse heating systems operate?
The whole idea is about capturing and storing heat from the sun and then releasing this to your seedlings when they’re freezing.
For this to work, there are several essentials:
Solar heated greenhouses rely on a thermal mass for proper functioning.
A thermal mass is any material that soaks up heat during the day, holds it, and then releases it to plants at their hour of need…mostly at night when they are most likely to be freezing.
The most popular method for storing absorbed solar energy is either to place rocks, water, or concrete facing the sunlight directly so as to absorb maximum heat
You’ll also need clean glazing. And in plenty.
That is the secret to maximizing insolation – the process of drawing heat energy naturally from the sun.
Glazing materials used for all solar greenhouses should permit maximum passage of solar energy into your greenhouse while reducing energy loss.
You can useGlass, Polyethylene, Acrylics or other plastics as glazing material
As a rule of the thumb, your solar greenhouse should have an estimated 0.75 - 1.5 sq. ft. of glazing per square foot (of floor space)
Solar panel kits for greenhouses are usually made from silicon. They however vary in efficiency as well as price.
Here are the 3 dominant types
Monocrystalline solar cells
These are manufactured from single crystalline silicon. They are dark in color and look like a cylinder.
To minimize costs and maintain performance at optimal levels, manufacturers cut off the 4 sides of these solar cells hence their recognizable appearance
Overall, they are the most efficient solar panel kits for greenhouses
Unlike their monocrystalline counterparts, polycrystalline cells retain their 4 sides. Silicon is typically melted then poured into square-shaped molds, forming perfect square shapes.
Thin-film solar cell
These are created by positioning several light layers of photovoltaic material on each other so as to make the cells needed to complete a module.
Best Solar panel kits for greenhouses Reviews 2018
1. ECO-WORTHY 200 Watt Greenhouse Solar Panel Kit.
ECO-WORTHY 200 Watt Features
- Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
- 2 x100 watt panels
- 20A charge controller
- Temperature sensor
- PWM charging mode (SOC)
- DC12V & USB 5V
- Protection against overloads, short-circuits, under-voltage and reverse polarity
This is one of the most durable solar panel greenhouse heating kits. It will withstand storms, snow loads, and will never rust.. all these being made possible by its sturdy aluminum frame
The kit comprises of two 100 watt panels which combine to recharge connected batteries within a short time. And you can also use it to charge your DC lamp and your phone.
Moving on, as you would expect with a top rated greenhouse solar panel, it has an overcharge regulator so it hardly overcharges batteries meaning your batteries will give you service for decades.
It also protects against overload, Short-circuiting, Under-voltage and Reverse polarity
All in all, it’s one of the best in the business.
2. Renogy 100 Watts Eclipse Monocrystalline
Features of Renogy 100 Watts Eclipse Monocrystalline
- Two 100 watts Solar Panels
- Adjustable aluminum (corrosion resistant) stand
- Heavy duty handle & latches
- Fitted with a 30A,4-stage charging controller
- Temperature sensor
- Battery voltage sensor.
- Protective casing.
- Alligator clips
This comes as 2 100 watts solar panels hence can attain a maximum of 200 watts. Once mounted, it continues to deliver a significant amount of heating even in cloudy environments.
Then, it comes with a robust, adjustable, corrosion-resistant aluminum stand. And don’t forget it also has a heavy-duty handle and holding latches so you are assured of long service.
To avoid overcharge, it’s fitted with a highly effective 4-stage charging controller which perfectly complements other safety features including a temperature sensor plus a battery sensor.
Still on batteries, it’s known to work with a wide range of batteries including sealed, gel, and flooded batteries.
3. Giosolar 100W 12V monocrystalline solar PV panel
Features of Giosolar 100W 12V monocrystalline solar PV panel
- single 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panel
- 100mm special cable (with MC4 connectors)
- +/-3% output power tolerance.
- Can be curved to make a 30-degree arc
- Mounts on all irregular surfaces
Giosolar solar panels are also constructed using highly efficient Monocrystalline solar cells.
They , therefore, produce a higher charge per module than most of the competition.
Because of its unique construction, this solar PV panel is considered a premier industrial grade module and is very popular with leading greenhouse solar heating experts.
Best of all?
It settles very well even on uneven roofs as it flexes to fit any uniquely shaped roof.
So, if your greenhouse has a curved roof, you finally have a solar panel that can work.
4. 400 Watts Solar Panel Kit with MPPT Charge Controller (20A), Solar Combiner, Solar Cable.
Features of 400 Watts Solar Panel Kit with MPPT Charge Controller (20A)
- 4 100 watt polycrystalline greenhouse solar panels
- Solar cable adapter
- Controller protection
- Solar power combiner
- Aluminum frame (heavy duty)
- Z mounting brackets
Since polycrystalline cells have reduced output rates,they are the best for gardeners in warmer areas
The 400 watts greenhouse solar panel kit is one of the best polycrystalline solar panel kit because it comes with some of the most essential solar heating elements including a combiner, a solar cable adapter, a 20A charge controller, and friendly Z mounting brackets.
Its design is such that it will optimize the wiring through the entire system so as to enhance its power efficiency.
Factors to consider when buying solar panel kits for greenhouses
When choosing solar panels for your greenhouse, you need to be more careful so as to identify the best possible product
Here are some considerations;
- The size of your greenhouse
The system you will install will depend on the size of your greenhouse will need more powerful panels.
- What you will be growing.
Each crop needs a specific level of heating. Be sure to go for a choice that can supply enough warmth to your plants.
- Presence of useful controls
Controls such as overcharging controller, mounting brackets, and temperature sensors make your panel more reliable and safe and may sway my opinion
- Ease of installation
Needless to say, solar panel kit should provide for direct mounting
Some panels are built in a way that you can also mount them on a cabin, a boat, or an uneven surface
How to maximize on Your greenhouse solar panels
Here are some tips you can employ make your greenhouse solar heating panels more efficient:
- Your panels should be facing south
- They should be mounted at an angle to receive maximum sunlight
- Your greenhouse should be fully insulated
- Your panels should not be covered by shade
- Add panels when necessary.
Knowing how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels can drastically reduce your greenhouse heating cost.
In addition, solar energy is environmentally safe and also very reliable.
When installing a solar greenhouse heating system, you will need solar panel kits for greenhouses, a thermal mass, and some glazing material
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