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​​Solar panel kits for greenhouses

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:

Thermal mass:

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

Glazing:

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 use Glass, 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 panels:

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

Mono crystalline 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 

Poly-crystalline cells 

Unlike their mono crystalline counterparts, poly-crystalline 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.

​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.

        PROS
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    Its easier to install
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    The charge controller is very convenient as everything is automated
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    It’s  temperature compensation function is highly precise
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    The kit is very well built and has potential to offer service for many years
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    It offers protection against common problems including short-circuiting
          CONS
  • The charge controller is a bit hard to reprogram
  • Its insulation is very stiff hence making it a bit difficult to snake wires through a camper. .

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.


        PROS
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    Continues to charge even in low-light environments
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    The aluminum handle is flexible so you can mount the panel at an optimal angle
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    Thanks to the charge controller, it has a very minimal risk of starting a fire
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    Its alligator clips are easier to connect and remain firm in place
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    It’s works with a wide range of batteries
          CONS
  • Its folding leg mechanism is quite detailed and hence a bit hard to disassemble

3. Giosolar 100W 12V monocrystalline solar PV panel

Features of Giosolar 100W 12V monocrystalline solar PV panel

  • single 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panel
  • Semi-Flexible
  • 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 Mono-crystalline 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.


        PROS
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    It very easy to install and use
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    You can mount it on curved/irregular roofs
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    The company has excellent customer service           
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    It withstands adverse conditions including snow loads
          CONS
  • May not be that durable depending on usage

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 poly-crystalline greenhouse solar panels
  • Solar cable adapter
  • Controller protection
  • Solar power combiner
  • Aluminum frame (heavy duty)
  • Z mounting brackets

Since poly crystalline 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 poly crystalline 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.


        PROS
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    This solar kit’s cable adapter makes it very easy to install
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    Its versatile and can be mounted in homes, cabins, or even boats
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    Its controller protection works well
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    It delivers optimal power efficiency thanks to its Solar power combiner
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    It doesn’t rusk
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    Comes with mounting brackets
          CONS
  • Not the best with very chilly areas

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

  • Versatility

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.
Wrapping up

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

If you feel we missed something, kindly contact us or drop us a comment.

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