Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Solar heating!

On Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting yet another of our numerous local unsung geniuses. This one had built a solar thermal energy collection and storage system for his home. It consists of a mirrored parabolic dish, glycol lines, and a thermal reservoir consisting of sand and gravel. It's simple and brilliant, and the guy is an excellent and highly skilled craftsman.

When most people think of renewable energy or emerging energy technologies, they think of electricity or cars. However, in Alaska, 80% of our energy needs are heating. So the pursuit of heat alone, which is the easiest and most efficient to produce, is a highly worthwhile endeavor.

Is this simple and elegant dish not beautiful?

Glycol lines run from the focal point:

A sense of scale:

The system generates enough heat to offset oil even in winter.


M.E. Masterson said...

This is brilliant!

mdr said...

well, sounds good. What a huge dish. He has a huge and flat yard.

mdr said...

It does not look like a private home's yard, how does he bring the stored heat home?

Arvay said...

It's in his backyard. The heat is carried in glycol lines into the thermal storage, which is in his home. :)