Passive vs Active vs Photovoltaic Solar - What's the difference?

june 20 2019 - Passive vs Active vs Photovoltaic Solar - What's the difference.png

Over the last few years, I’ve met countless home and business owners who all shared a very common question. In our line of work, it’s not unusual to be asked what the difference is between passive, active and solar PV systems. So, I thought I’d take a few minutes to answer this question and provide a bit of insight into which system delivers the most benefit.

If we think back to Ancient History class, we’ll recall how humans captured solar energy directly from the sun through a passive approach by building their houses out of stone or clay, which absorbed the sun’s heat during the day and stayed warm after dark, providing heat throughout the night. Builders today use similar methods for passively capturing solar energy.

For example, they construct houses with large double- or triple-paned windows that get direct sunlight to capture and magnify the sun’s warmth. The effect is similar to but more powerful than what happens to your car on a sunny day: The air inside becomes much warmer than the air outside because the windows let in the sun’s energy and trap it, gradually raising the temperature.

Active solar energy systems use the same principles as passive systems except that they use a fluid (such as water) to absorb the heat. A solar collector positioned on the roofs of buildings heats the fluid and then pumps it through a system of pipes to heat the whole building.

Photovoltaic cells, or solar panels, are slightly more involved than passive or active solar energy systems. They convert sunlight to electricity by using thin sheets of silicon. These thin sheets are inexpensive and can be easily added to roof structures. The added benefit is that a solar PV system is the best choice to integrate with your whole home while connected to the provincial energy grid. This connectivity ensures a consistent power supply while channeling surplus solar energy back to the grid. This provides homeowners the opportunity to offset their electrical bills substantially, while also earning a credit for surplus generation.

The good news about solar energy is that the sun is always available. Further good news is that technological advances continue to lower the costs of using a grid-connected Solar PV energy system for your home or business. That’s encouraging further widespread consumer use – a boon not only for the environment, but energy-conscious home and business owners alike.

Thanks for Reading!

For more information about a Solar Energy Solution for your home or business, please contact AZTEK SOLAR for your free on-site evaluation and ask about the $8,500 cash-back rebate now available.

AZTEK SOLAR is a leading Nova Scotia residential and commercial solar installer, serving urban and rural Nova Scotia.

With expertise in a wide variety of systems, including Solar PV (grid-tied) systems, solar hot water and solar pool heating systems, AZTEK SOLAR has helped hundreds of Atlantic Canadian homeowners, farm operations and business owners alike lower their energy bills while reducing their carbon footprint. Contact us today for a free, on-site assessment.