Active Solar Energy

Sunlight is one of the most abundant energy sources, and solar energy utilizes sunlight to generate electricity. But have you ever thought of a situation where you can use the sunlight for operating all the equipment in the house?

Active Solar Energy helps us to make optimum use of the sunlight. Especially during the winter, active solar energy helps us keep warmer and comfortable.

In this article, let us explore what active solar energy is all about, how it works, and how we benefit from it.

What is Active Solar Energy?

Active Solar energy is the energy that we generate and store from the sunlight for our future use. Sustainable energy use increases as we use it for electrical and mechanical equipment.

Types of Active Solar Energy

There are different types of Active solar energy.

  •  Active Solar Space heating
  •  Active Solar Water heating
  • Active Solar Pool heating

Active Solar Space Heating

Active solar space heating works with the help of mechanical equipment, including Fans, Pumps, Ducts, or Blowers to collect, store and distribute heat throughout the building.

These types of active solar energy can be either liquid-based or air-based, and the liquid-based energy will be stored in large water tanks to distribute in the future. They also use Pumps, radiant slabs, hot-water baseboards, and central forced air to collect, store and distribute the energy.

The Air-based energy can be collected and stored in thermal mass or rock bins. They also use ducts and blowers to distribute them to the households.

Active Solar Water Heating

As the name indicates, these types of active solar energies are best to heat the water at home, and it uses a pump or heat to transfer or circulate the water through the system.

Active solar water heating can be of two types – Direct and Indirect.

The water is directly heated in the solar collectors and pumped into the storage tanks in the direct system. It is then piped into the faucets for future use.

The Indirect system uses a fluid with anti-freezing properties heated in the solar collectors and stored in the storage tanks. The heat exchangers transfer the heat from the liquid to the water in the tanker in the storage tanker.

Active Solar Pool Heating

Active solar pool heating is used to heat the water in your pools. Does it not resemble active solar water heating?

Well, it might. But it is not. The active solar pool heating collects the water from the pool in the collector and flows back to the pool once the water is heated. There is no need for a storage tanker. The elimination of the storage tanker is the most significant difference between Active Solar pool heating and active solar water heating.

Differences between Active and Passive Solar energy

Solar Energy is of two types, Active and Passive energy. How do you determine if it is active or passive energy? The difference lies in the way the sunlight is being converted and used. Let us discuss the differences between active and passive solar energy.

Basis of DistinctionActive Solar EnergyPassive Solar energy
Use of equipmentUses mechanical and electrical equipment to collect, store, and distribute energy.Do not use any equipment. It is the direct and live use of sunlight to generate electricity.
Solar CollectorsIt uses solar collectors to collect the sunlight and convert them to heat.It does not use any solar collectors, and it uses the design of the building to capture and heat the sunlight.
FormTweaked form of solar energyThe natural form of solar energy
Proper Building structureIt does not depend on the orientation of the building for collecting the sunlight.It Depends on the building structure for the collection of sunlight.
ApplicationThey are applied in active solar space heating. Active solar water heating and active solar pool heating.They are applied in passive heating, passive cooling, and daylighting.

Working Of Active Solar Energy

Active solar energy works on the principles of thermodynamics. The active solar systems use solar energy to heat the fluid to transfer them to the storage tankers for future use. They are also backed up auxiliary systems in case solar energy cannot provide adequate space heating.

The liquid-based solar system is most suitable if storage tankers are used. They are well suited for radiant heating systems, boilers with hot water radiators, absorption heat pumps, and coolers.

The solar collectors collect solar energy. Once the fluid gets heated and ready, the solar energy is transferred to the storage tankers. When needed, the fluid has exchanged the heat using a heat exchanger. This is how the space in our house gets heated. If the heat is exchanged with the water, we get warm water in our pipes.

Components of Active Solar Energy

There are three essential components of solar energy to collect, store and distribute.


The solar energy is collected using a solar collector, a flat-plate collector, which is a glass-plated insulated box. The box has black absorber plates that absorb the sunlight and convert them to heat.


The energy collected has to be stored for future use. The storage tankers or thermal mass for liquid-based systems are handy to keep the fuel. In the case of air-based systems, rock bins are the best to hold the hot air.


The stored energy is distributed as and when required.

The liquid-based energy system uses pumps, radiant slabs, and hot-water dashboards to distribute the heat. The air-based system uses fans and ducts.

Benefits of Active Solar Energy

Solar energy is one of the cleanest energy available for use, and it can prove to be a beneficial arrangement for you. Let us discuss how active solar energy benefits the users.

  • It acts as the best alternative in the cold climate by replacing the more expensive fuels like propane, electricity, and oil.
  • To encourage the practice of using solar energy systems, certain governments offer tax exemptions, income tax credits or deductions, and property tax deductions and exemptions.
  • The active solar energy can be installed without altering the structure of the building.
  • Solar collectors usually have a warranty for up to ten years, which means that you can use them for a decade.
  • The heat generated reduces our electricity bill.

Take Away

Active Solar energy is a better option to choose from, as it gives us the option to use the energy per our needs and requirements. Let us make the best use of it