Since we’re all looking to go green, what better way to heat your greenhouse than with solar panels?
Solar power is a renewable resource, and using it to heat your greenhouse can help reduce your carbon footprint.
Solar panels are also utilized to power automatic irrigation systems, lighting, and anything else that runs on 110V or 220V electricity. Believe it or not, the world is becoming a better place!
If you want to heat your greenhouse with solar panels and get your DIY grove on, then stick with us and discover how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels.
- 1 How Do Solar Panels Work?
- 2 Can A Greenhouse Be Heated With Solar Power?
- 3 How To Build A Solar-Powered Greenhouse
- 3.1 Step 1 – Choose an ideal spot
- 3.2 Step 2 – Create a workable footprint
- 3.3 Step 3 – Choose the right materials
- 3.4 Step 4 – Install your solar panels
- 3.5 Step 5 – Add battery backup
- 3.6 Step 6- Insulate your space
- 3.7 Step 7 – Get some circulation
- 3.8 Step 8 – Use thermal mass
- 3.9 Step 9 – Make sure you have the right soil and irrigation.
- 4 The Cheapest Way To Heat Greenhouse
- 5 FAQs
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells (PV cells). These cells are what convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.
The more PV cells a solar panel has, the more electricity it can generate. The amount of sunlight that hits the PV cells also affects how much electricity is produced.
PV cells are made from a type of semiconductor, usually silicon. When sunlight hits the PV cell, it causes electrons to be knocked loose from the silicon atoms.
These free-flowing electrons are then captured by metal conductors, which create an electric current. This current can then be used to power your devices or charge batteries.
Can A Greenhouse Be Heated With Solar Power?
Yes, you can use a wide variety of different solar panels for greenhouses. In fact, The most common solar panel materials are silicon and have varying levels of efficiency, as well as price ranges.
How To Build A Solar-Powered Greenhouse
Step 1 – Choose an ideal spot
Make sure the location you pick gets sufficient sunshine. Place your greenhouse in a south-facing location with a modest eastward angle.
This allows for more early morning sunlight and some heat protection in the late afternoon hours. It also ensures that the sun shines throughout the winter when the sun rises in the southeast.
Step 2 – Create a workable footprint
Determine the square footage you’ll need and layout your garden. Consider things like the space you’ll require to easily transfer between planting beds and rows.
The overall size of your greenhouse should be determined by the amount of planting area you’ll need to produce and the amount of food you want to grow.
Related: Solar Panels in your Garden
Step 3 – Choose the right materials
While solar energy is the most abundant source of power, you must use a substance that allows at least 70% of the light to pass through while minimizing energy loss (R-value).
When you have a healthy balance between those two variables, you will get the most out of your garden. Polycarbonate is a renewable material that guarantees adequate transmissivity and R-value while also being sustainable.
You can buy solar kits that will provide you with all the necessary materials to get your greenhouse up and running. These kits come complete with everything from the panels themselves to the framing, wiring, and installation instructions.
Step 4 – Install your solar panels
Solar panel installation is a pretty straightforward process. The average do-it-yourselfer can have their panels up and running in no time.
First, you’ll want to attach the brackets that came with your kit to the roof of your greenhouse. Next, take the panels and place them on top of the brackets.
Once the panels are in place, connect the wires from the solar panel to the charge controller. The charge controller regulates the flow of electricity from the panels to the batteries.
Finally, connect the batteries to the inverter. The inverter converts the DC electricity stored in the batteries into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what your devices use.
They are fairly new on the market, but semi-transparent solar panels are also an option for solar-powered greenhouses. These panels allow sunlight to pass through while still generating electricity.
This type of panel is ideal for greenhouse applications because it doesn’t block out the light that your plants need to grow.
Step 5 – Add battery backup
Adding a battery backup to your system is a good idea for two reasons. First, it provides a way to store energy for times when the sun isn’t shining. Second, it gives you a backup power source in case of a power outage.
To add battery backup to your system, simply connect the batteries in parallel with the solar panels. This will allow the energy from the batteries to be used when needed.
Keep in mind that batteries can be expensive, so only add them to your system if you feel you need them.
Step 6- Insulate your space
To keep your garden flourishing all year, your greenhouse must be able to trap solar energy and store heat during the winter.
This is when the R-value really comes into play. Choose a thermal resistance level according to on how many growing seasons you want in your house or business.
The northern wall should be completely insulated, but if you live in a colder climate, consider insulating the east and west walls as well.
To determine the R-value and insulation needs for your area, contact a local nursery or greenhouse designer.
Step 7 – Get some circulation
Ventilation is an important aspect of maintaining your plants’ health and cooling down your greenhouse.
Fresh moving air also helps to prevent insects and illnesses. Maximizing natural ventilation, such as by installing intake vents low and exhaust vents high, is the most sustainable option.
The air is drawn in through the intake vents, warms as it rises, and is then exhausted out of the exhaust vents.
Ventilation may be controlled by automated solar-powered vent openers and/or exhaust fans.
Step 8 – Use thermal mass
Reflective insulation, for example, helps to minimize heat loss and retain warmth inside your greenhouse.
Thermal mass is extremely crucial if you want to produce all year round.
Thermal mass comes in the form of water, stone, concrete that has been used, and cob.
You may either use huge drums of water or stone or cob on the floor or north wall depending on your room limitations.
Step 9 – Make sure you have the right soil and irrigation.
A greenhouse provides plants with the ideal growing environment. You’ll need the proper soil to ensure optimal growth conditions. Do not construct on a concrete slab because it will prevent you from accessing nourishing subsoils. Instead, build on the ground and use compost and mulch to keep the soil full of nutrients.
Use a rainwater drip irrigation system to maximize nature’s power. Rainwater is devoid of chlorine and other chemicals, making it an excellent source of nitrogen for your plants.
The Cheapest Way To Heat Greenhouse
With the combination of solar and a small wind turbine, you can also heat your greenhouse for free. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1 – Insulate your greenhouse
This will be the first and most important step in heating your greenhouse for free. You need to make sure that all the heat generated by the sun during the day is trapped inside the structure at night. The best way to do this is to use a double layer of polyethylene sheeting on the roof and walls of your greenhouse.
Step 2 – Use black pipes for floor heating
Black pipes are great for absorbing and retaining heat. By running these pipes under the floor of your greenhouse you can create a cheap and effective radiant floor heating system.
Step 3 – Install a small wind turbine
A small wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power a few small heaters or a larger one if you live in a windy area.
Step 4 – Install solar power
Solar power is free and renewable. By installing a few solar panels on the roof of your greenhouse you can generate enough electricity to power a few small heaters or a larger one if you live in a sunny area.
Step 5 – Install a 12v space heater
You can pick up 12v space heaters online quite cheaply. These heaters work by circulating warm air around the greenhouse and can be powered by either the wind turbine or solar panels.
Can I use a heat sink to heat my greenhouse?
Yes, You can also build your own heat sink to store heat generated during the day and release it at night. This is a great way to heat your greenhouse for free if you live in a sunny climate.
How much solar do you need to heat a greenhouse?
The optimal temperature in a greenhouse is about 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, so the first and most important thing to know is how to maintain an equal temperature inside the greenhouse day and night, in both winter and summer. You need 1 square foot of solar panel for every 10 degrees you want to heat the greenhouse. So, if you live in a climate where the temperature inside the greenhouse needs to be maintained at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then you would need 8 square feet of solar panels.