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LSE Solar Heater Energy Savings Report

LSE Solar Heater Energy Savings Report

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Published by: Trees, Water and People on Nov 05, 2010
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11/03/2011

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Highway 18, Community #4, P.O. Box 1609, Pine Ridge, South Dakota 57770Phone: (605) 441-9200, Email: lakotasolar@gmail.com
 
Lakota Solar Enterprises
Benefits of Supplemental Solar Air Heatingfor Native American Communities of the Great Plains
How Solar Air Heating Works
There are three basic types of solar energy installations: solar airheating, solar water heating and solar electric (photovoltaic)systems. The solar heating systems provided by
Lakota SolarEnterprises
(LSE) and
Trees, Water & People
(TWP) are
solar air systems,
 
which use the sun’s energy to heat air from inside the
house and return the hot air to the house.These systems provide
supplemental
heat to homes where they are
installed; that is, they supplement the families’ other sources of 
heat (electricity, propane or wood stoves) by providing heat forpennies per day, whenever the sun is shining. The solar heatingsystems do not produce electricity, and they do not have the capacity to
store
heat for use duringthe night. If a home is well-insulated, however, some of the heat produced during the day willremain in the house after the sun goes down.Lakota Solar Enterprises is an independent 100% Native Americanowned company. LSE works in conjunction with the non-profitorganization Trees, Water & People, which provides marketing and
 business development assistance. LSE’s solar heating syste
ms aremanufactured and/or assembled at the
 Red Cloud Renewable EnergyCenter 
 
 – 
a facility they own on the Pine Ridge Reservation in SouthDakota and the solar heating systems are installed by LSE staff. Theycost approximately $2,000 per system, including installation, withvarious parts and material kits available for lesser amounts.The main component of each unit is a four-by-eight-foot solar collectorpanel, made of a black metal absorber plate covered by a sheet of special solar glass and surrounded by a metal frame. The absorber plate
used in LSE’s panels u
tilizes a specialized, highly efficient surface
 
that absorbs short-wave solarradiation. As the absorber warms up to a temperature higher than the ambient temperature, itgives off a great part of the accumulated solar energy in form of long-wave heat rays. In order toreduce energy loss through heat emission, these efficient absorbers have a
selective surfacecoating
. This coating enables the conversion of a high proportion of the solar radiation into heat,
 
Side view of solar heatingsystem, showing ducts for airintake and return
 
A LSE solar heating system installed onthe Pine Ridge Reservation. The size of the solar collector panel is 4 x 8 feet.
 
 
 LSE Solar Heater Energy Savings ReportPage 2
simultaneously reducing the emission of heat. Selective coatings include black chrome, black nickel, and aluminum oxide with nickel.When the system is installed, the collector panel is mounted nextto the south side of the house, where it absorbs heat from the sun.The mounted panel is connected to the house by two air ducts(supply and return). A 60-watt electric blower inside the woodenframe pulls cool air from the house into the collector panel.The air is heated inside the panel and then returned to the housethrough the return duct. The blower is regulated by a thermostatlocated inside the house. Whenever the air inside the collectorpanel is warmer than the temperature set on the thermometer,the blower turns on and warm air (=/>110 degrees F) is pushedinto the house.
Expected Energy, Cost and Pollution Savings
Energy ProductionThe amount of solar radiance available in a given location varies, depending on latitude, climateconditions and the positioning of the collector panel. As a Department of Energy
Consumer Guide
advises,
“active solar heating systems are most cost
-effective when they are used formost of the year, that is, in cold climates with good solar resources. They are mosteconomical if they are displacing more expensive heating fuels, such as electricity, propane,
and oil heat.”
1
 
Southern South Dakota’s Reservation c
ommunities meet all of these conditionsand are ideally situated to take advantage of solar heating. As this map shows, despite its coldwinters, southwestern South Dakota receives amounts of solar radiation comparable to areasmuch further south, including the Gulf Coast of Texas.
2
 
1
 
 A Consumer’s Guide
to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
2
 
U.S. Solar Radiation Resource Maps, Atlas for the
Solar Radiation Data Manual for Flat-Plate and Concentrating Collectors
, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
 
 
The system’s only moving part, a 60 watt“squirrel cage” blower fitted with 6” duct
work, draws cool air from the housethrough the solar panel and pushes theheated air back into the house.
 
 
 LSE Solar Heater Energy Savings ReportPage 3
The amount of available solar radiation is
increased 
if flat-plate collectors are tilted at the angleof latitude. To optimize the amount of radiation available in
winter 
, as is desirable with heatingapplications, the LSE collectors are tilted at the angle of latitude (44 degrees in South Dakota)plus 15 degrees. The chart below shows the amount of solar radiance available to these solarcollectors, in kilowatt hours per square meter per day and in British Thermal Units per squarefoot per day.
3
The column showing the BTUs per month per heating season, applies anefficiency factor, taking into account that solar collector panels cannot convert 100% of the solarenergy they receive into heat.
4
 
3
 
Solar radiance data is taken from
Solar Radiation Data Manual for Flat-Plate and Concentrating Collectors
,National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
4
 
LSE’s solar collectors have not yet been tested and certified by an independent agency (The State of South Dakota
does not require certification.) This efficiency factor (.488) has been measured for another collector panel, made byRural Renewable Energy Alliance in Minnesota(http://www.rreal.org/ 
 
). Their panel is similar to LSE’s and uses the
same absorber plate material:
microtherm
, manufactured by Alanod /MiroSolar(http://www.mirosolar.com/ ).

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