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NSF Researchers Study Passive Solar Energy as Residential Heat Source

NSF Researchers Study Passive Solar Energy as Residential Heat Source

A recent study by the National Science Foundation (NSF) estimates that unused solar energy could be used to power one-third of residential heat. Therefore, harvesting passive solar energy could have huge potential in reducing carbon emissions associated with space heating. Passive solar heating systems work by collecting natural light to provide heat without having to convert the light to electricity. NSF’s study found that gathering, storing, and delivering solar energy is feasible even in colder, darker climates that may be most in need  of space heat generation.
 
Key highlights from the study include:
  • Solar energy resources for direct space heating are estimated for the first time.
  • Resources are extensive in cool, cold, and cloudy climates.
  • Diffuse radiation is often a sizable resource component, requiring tilted collectors.
  • The median U.S. household direct solar heating resource exceeds 7 MWh annually. 
NSF shared that “Among the noteworthy findings, the researchers discovered that cold and cloudy climates are abundant sources of solar energy and estimated that this untapped passive solar energy could provide one-third of residential heating.” Full findings are published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

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