Solar Thermal Systems vs. Solar Photovoltaic Systems

Making the switch to solar energy from grid electricity is an exciting prospect. You can help the environment while also saving money. Before you get very far along the process, you’ll find that you have a big decision to make. There are actually two different kinds of solar energy systems: solar thermal systems and solar photovoltaic systems. So which type of system should you choose?  Here are the pros and cons of each.

Solar Photovoltaic Systems – The Pros

Photovoltaic systems, also known as a solar power system can be seen these on south facing roofs; they are usually dark blue and shiny. Solar photovoltaic systems work by collecting sunlight and converting it into electricity by using a semi-conductor, such as silicone.  Their advantages include:

  • They provide clean energy for over 30 years.
  • They usually come with a warranty of 25 years or more.
  • They can provide you with 60% or more of your household energy needs, depending on your consumption and the size of the system.
  • They generate the most power in the summer, when the sun is strongest.
  • They can provide enough energy to power high-consuming appliances like a refrigerator, tumble dryer or air conditioner.
  • They protect your roof, thereby extending its lifespan.
  • They can be integrated into your roof for optimum aesthetic value.

Solar Panels installed on a roof

Solar Photovoltaic Systems – The down side

  • They cost more to install up front.
  • It takes longer to recover your initial investment.
  • They require a larger area of space on your roof.

Solar Thermal Systems – The Pros

You might recognize a solar thermal system when passing by its matte, black appearance. Solar thermal systems work by gathering heat energy from the sun and using it to heat water (or other liquids) which will, in turn, heat the air or water.  Solar thermal systems are used in large plants to provide power to steam turbines.  Their advantages:

  • They are up to 70% efficient in collecting heat from the sun.
  • They will cut your gas and electricity usage.
  • They require less space on your roof than a solar photovoltaic system.
  • The up-front cost of installation is less than a solar photovoltaic system.
  • It takes less time to recover your initial cost, typically only 3-5 years.
  • The technology is less complex and very dependable.
  • The technology is widely used in other parts of the world.

House with Solar Panels

Solar Thermal Systems – The downside:

  • They are less effective in the winter months.
  • They are not as versatile a choice as a solar power system.

Regardless of which option you choose, both are superior to traditional sources of energy.  Both solar thermal systems and solar photovoltaic systems will significantly reduce your dependence on fossil fuels.  There are government rebates available to assist you in your installation of either a solar thermal system or a solar photovoltaic system.

When you are ready to make the switch to solar energy, call Greenpower Technology.  We are renewable energy experts.  We know all the ins and outs of the systems that are available to you, and will help you to find the system that best fits your own particular needs. Give Greenpower Technology a call today.

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