The entire south-west facing wall of my house does not have a single window in it. It gets the sun all day virtually every day of the year. I would love to get my hands on the architect!
Without too much in the way of structural alterations how can I harvest the power of the sun for heating purposes?
It really annoys me in the winter especially when I see the whole end wall bathed in sunlight but have no way of harnessing that power that should be available when it's most needed.
(ANS) The most obvious option would be solar cells for either converting the solar energy into electricity (i.e. solarvotaic cells) these cells can be VERY thin & lightweight so you woudnt need to worry about the weight factor. And they work best when you have a relatively large surface area too. This option could either be stored for slow release purposes such as storage heaters which cuts your heating bills overall or stored into a large battery for other uses, or could even be put back into the national grid (but this last idea isnt very realistic unless you have a large excess capacity though).
Or you can have actual solar panels which consist of a series of small pipes that zigg zagg back and forth into something that looks abit like a panel radiator. These are usually painted black so as to absorb the suns energy (both its light & heat). These would be slightly bigger & have more weight (but still NOT much I think?) Solar hot water panels will also reduce your heating bills by providing hotter water by a few degree's each day. In the longer summer months you get alot of VERY hot water but less so at other times of the year.
But even on a cloudy day these panels will still increase the hot water temperature. You would save money on heating the remaining hot water (these solar panels suppliment your hot water NOT replace).
**There are many many companies offering this kind of solar technology across the UK and I'm confident a quick internet search would give you all the details you need.
Try searching yahoo or google on key words such as solarvoltiac cells or solar panels or solar panel technologies?
Best Regards IR