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Q: What kind of solar system is right for me, solar thermal or solar electric? Which is better?

A: A simple solar thermal system is most appropriate for typical residential household energy consumption.

There are two kinds of solar collectors:
  1. solar thermal collectors, that make heat, usually in the form of a warm liquid, and
  2. photovoltaic collectors, that make electricity.

Unfortunately photovoltaic collectors are much more expensive than thermal collectors, and they are considerably less efficient. It is almost never a good idea to make electricity with photovoltaic collectors and then use the electricity to make heat. You should have used a solar thermal collector in the first place.

solar thermal collectors

Solar photovoltaic electric systems will have an important place in our future energy mix, but they are not a good way to make a lot of heat, and they will not be in the foreseeable future. It is our opinion that electricity is a premium energy source, and its use should be reserved for end uses that require its unique qualities and properties, and where its expense can be justified. Radiantec, http://www.radiantec.com,  is a solar thermal company. We suggest that you consult with Solar Works Company for your photovoltaic needs. Their website is http://www.solar-works.com/

Most of the energy that a typical residential household consumes is used for simple thermal tasks such as space heating, the production of domestic hot water and cooling. A simple solar thermal system is most appropriate for these needs.

There are several simple solar thermal systems described at http://www.radiantsolar.com/options_index.php


We invite you to explore this website and to click on Next Step if you would like more information.

Our solar technicians are always ready to answer questions.

Call 1-800-451-7593