With the risk of climate change increasing each year, you might be wondering if it is ethical to depend on non-renewable sources to produce heating energy. You may not be thinking about it constantly, but you definitely see its effects all around you. Be it your friend who has switched to recyclable packaging or a neighbor purchasing a solar blanket, the examples are endless.
Suppose you are farming or gardening and live in a climate that is not suitable for the plants to grow. In that case, you may want to invest in a passive solar greenhouse or solar panel to heat up your greenhouse. Solar panels a device to channel renewable energy sources, and they will enable you to reduce your environmental footprint.
Well, you are in luck, because this article will cover how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels. So before you attempt to heat up your greenhouse, here is what you’ll need to set up your solar panels first.
What You’ll Need to Set up Your Solar Panels for the greenhouse
To set up your solar panels, these are the items that you need to make sure you have near you.
- Solar panels (minimum size 500-watt solar panel for a small greenhouse of 8×8)
- Solar charger
- Mounting Frame
- Power Inverter
- Charge Controller
- Mechanical lugs
- AWG Cable
With these items, you will need these tools to help you set up your solar panel system for the greenhouse.
- Crescent wrench
- Electrical tape
- Nuts and bolts
To check the heating of your solar panels, here is what you’ll need
- Ammeter or Multimeter
- Alligator Clips
Setting Up Your Solar Panels
To set up your solar panels outside the greenhouse, you need to make sure that you follow the steps outlined below:
Step 1: Estimate the Size of the Solar Panel You Need for the Greenhouse
You need to make sure that you have bought the correct size of a solar panel based on how big your greenhouse is. A simple estimate is having a minimum of 500-watt solar panel to heat up an 8×8 greenhouse. It also matters how many solar panels do you want to install.
This can be done by dividing the energy consumed per hour by the wattage of solar panels. This will help you determine the power load of your greenhouse and the solar battery size you need for your panel. We would recommend you get a solar panel kit.
Step 2: Build A Mount for the Solar Panels
You must build a mount because that is where your solar panels will be placed. In addition, your mount needs to be facing in the direction of the Sun because that is where your solar panels will also face. Solar panels are placed on the ground outside; don’t place them on the roof.
Step 3: Install Your Solar Panels
Once your mount is safe and secure, it is time to put your solar panels in their place. Make sure that you aren’t handling your panels roughly because that can cause damage and potentially decrease the solar energy produced.
Step 4: Set Up Your Batteries, Charge Controller, and Inverter
You would need to perform detailed electrical work; luckily, we have outlined it for you in simple steps.
- Charge your batteries to make sure they are ready to be set up.
- Once that is done, place them in a container. Ensure that you have kept (+) positively charged batteries facing one end and (-) negatively charged batteries on the other end.
- After that, you need to connect the batteries by creating jumpers out of AWG cable.
- Cut the cable after measuring in between the terminals and then attach the mechanical lugs.
- Then cover the box with a lid and use a drill to make holes for the wires of the charge controller and inverter to pass through.
- Connect the charge controller (make sure it is not connected to your solar panels) and the inverter (turned off mode) to the batteries present in the box. Ensure that the inverter’s positive terminal is connected to the solar system’s positive wire and vice versa for the negative.
Step 5: Connect to the Nearest Grid and Turn On the Inverter
Once you have done the electrical work, it is time to connect the inverter with the grid; this could be a switchboard in your home if you are maintaining a greenhouse. Lastly, just turn on the inverter!
Congratulations! You have successfully set up your solar panels for the greenhouse. Now it is time for you to test their solar energy for heat production.
Heat Test for Greenhouse Solar Panels
Here is what you’ll need to measure if the solar panels are heating your greenhouse.
Measure the Amperage and the Current
Here you will use an ammeter to test the amperage, which is actually the current flow. So for this step, you will need to connect the ammeter to the positive and negative terminals of the solar panels when they are completely in sunlight and connected to a solar battery.
After that, you will measure the current, and for this, you would need to open the junction box on the solar panel. Once it is opened, find your master terminals. By this time, your multimeter should be set up to test voltage higher than what the solar panels can produce. After that, simply connects the alligator clips, and your multimeter should be giving you a reading.
Now you can check how your solar panels are performing in heating up your greenhouse.
Our Final Thoughts
Greenhouses have been considered to harness the Sun’s energy and keep plants warm even in cold weather. But to increase the intensity of the heat, you need to invest in solar panels. By creating clean green energy, not only would you be saving non-renewable resources, but you would also be able to avoid electricity bills and go completely off-grid.
What is your take on how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels?