Renewable Energy

Solar heating is the use of heat from the sun to provide direct heat for home heating. In this article, we narrow the definition down to that of using the Sun's heat for water heating.

In South Africa, the solar constant can almost reach 2000Watts/sq.m, with an average value over 24 hours of 220 Watts/sq.m. This is approximately double the values for Northern Europe. With such comparatively high values of insolation, even relatively crude solar panels can provide excellent results.

Solar photovoltaic generation

Solar photovoltaic generation systems use solar panels to convert the energy from sunlight directly to electricity.

Solar panels may be
  • Crystalline,
  • Polycrystalline,
  • String,
  • or Thin film.

The output voltages from these panels are standardised to be able to charge banks of 12 Volt batteries (if used).

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