Active Solar Collection Technologies
Active solar refers to an older division of solar
collection. Around the 1970s, there were so called passive solar systems
which had few moving parts and there was everything else which were called
active systems. Although I am not aware of any official body that has
endorsed a meaning for the term, "active solar", I think most
agree it is a simpler solar system used for lower temperature
collection. Typically, active solar systems are domestic hot water heating
systems that involve a few pumps, a water tank and little else. The truth
of the matter is that this level of technology is probably the only level
that makes sense for most home owners at this time. Heating hot water is a
tried and true technology that meets a real need that is relatively
expensive to meet with conventional gas fired or electric powered heaters.
For most households an active solar hot water heating system will pay for
itself in two to three years and save you real money over the systems life
time. Compare this to PV electric system which typically take 10 or more
years to pay for themselves and may barely break even over their lifetime.
This is a short list of some of the different types of
technologies that exist for Active Solar Collection.