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Solar Powered System Heats Your Home During Winter


02I have and will always sustain that solar power is the most magnificent source of energy available to us freely and abundantly. Despite that, cold winters and hot electricity/gas bills have always annoyed the people residing in not-so-warm areas of the world. There are plenty of solutions to that issue, but they cost a lot and they usually don’t compensate their cost in a few years.

Boston-based Practical Solar, on the other hand, comes with an interesting house heating offer and, with the help of a millennium-old technology, aided by computer software, wants to bring heat in your homes directly from the sun. Simpler said, they projected a set of mirrors to beam their light on your house.

You won’t get much heat from just one, but from an assembly of ten you’ll need to turn your heater down. As you can see in the picture above, the system can concentrate the solar light (and hea) directly into one of your rooms, through the windows.

I may want to retract one of my affirmations from the phrase above (the one with “you won’t get much heat from just one”), because the company says each heliostat has a power of approximately 600W, and by combining two of them you’ll get the same heat as from an electrical room heater. It’s an interesting claim, although it would have to be verified practically to fully confirm it. Theoretically, it’s possible, since the effective solar power density (light+thermal) is of about 1.4kW/square meter. Anyway, there are countless ways this system could be used more practically (for example, heating up a boiler).

I’m optimistic about their heating system and would like one heating up my (future) house.

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  1. I have been developing southern reflectors in Canberra since 1991 and have 9 versions installed around here. They can provide FREE heat, making cold, southern rooms in single storey houses 8ºC warmer than normal in midwinter, but the psychological benefit is even more effective, transforming cold, gloomy, sunless rooms into more effective spaces. By keeping them close to the house there is no glare (the photo shown above is not an effective solution) and our calculations show that, allowing for all losses through glass the reflectors can be 46% efficient. They are virtually maintenance free and only need slight adjustment twice a year. They do not require any power to operate so are highly carbon neutral.


  2. It`s an interesting concept, but not one I`d take up. Like you mentioned a much better idea would be to heat water or even concentrate the reflected like on a solar panel.

    In that picture, he folks sitting by the pool are going to get blinded.

  3. Hi Ovidiu,
    I just came across your post. Sunlight actually contains 1,000 watts of thermal energy per square meter, so Practical Solar’s claim of 600 watts seems reasonable, considering their reflective surface area is a less than a square meter, and there are some losses due to the imperfect reflectivity of the mirrors. Perhaps you’re thinking of the amount of solar power a traditional PV panel can obtain from a square meter of sunlight?

    • You’re right Zillah, my calculations were based on a number probably representing the energy a PV panel can capture, theoretically. I’ll correct the article. Thanks!


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