Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Air Heating
What is a solar air heater?: Where a PV solar panel generates electricity, a Arctica solar air heater generates hot air for spacing heating applications.
Why would I use a solar air heater?: If you need heating during a portion of the year solar air heating can be a inexpensive and sustainable way to meet or supplement your heating needs. If you live in a sunny climate and need naturally warmed air for a specific process, like making beef jerky, hydroponics or aeroponics, solar air heating can be a natural choice.
How does it work?: Sunlight enters the heater and is absorbed by a special metal panel. An optimized thermal exchange system uses heat captured by the absorber to heat incoming air and then delivers the air to the use space. The 1500 series heater uses a PV panel to operate the circulation fan, and is controlled automatically with a thermostat and temperature switch.
Do I have to plug it in?: In the 1500 Series, No. The heater provides its own power for air circulation via the PV panel. It is powered directly from the PV panel.
Does it have a thermostat?: The heater ships with a heat-only thermostat, however it can work without a thermostat as well by just twisting the thermostat wire leads together on the intake wire harness.
How does it ship, and how much does it weigh?: Heaters ship freight on a pallet, up to 10x heaters / pallet.
Is it hard to install?: It is designed to install just like a PV electric panel by DIYers or solar installers. It does require routing of air ducting, so it is best to locate the heater as close to the point of use as possible. Please review the owners manuals which are linked on the heater product pages.
Why not just use PV panels routed to a traditional space heater?: For producing heat, PV panels are terribly inefficient and take up a lot of space. At 80% end to end efficiency, an Arctica Solar air heater is the best choice for maximizing cost performance in space heating.
Would a window work just as well?: Yes and no, depending on your scenario. Windows do allow for collection of solar radiation, but are designed to let in light and keep out weather. Windows often have coatings which lower the energy collected from the sun for the purpose of heating and comfort of people and items in the living area. The heater is designed to deliver heat, so the use cases can be different. Installation of the solar heater is easier with fewer potential leak points than a window.
Can I link multiple heaters together?: Yes, you can do series and parallel connection of heater panels. This video explains one such combination which achieves 10,000 BTU / hr max heat generation.