Anonymous
Anonymous asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 9 years ago

solar power heating costs/advice?

In NM there are people on the Navajo res who need tons of firewood delivered each winter so they don't die. Can we afford to replace that with solar heating? I'm thinking we could raise under $5000 per house. These houses are tiny! under 200 square feet usually with unlimited room in their yards for panels ... or roofs would be best because of various livestock.

But also, almost always no electricity or running water. They use their wood "stoves" of various types for heat AND cooking so if you have any tips on how we can help them get a low-maintenance, multi-generational system put in, or something that will be worth all this, please answer any and a lot since i have never installed something like this. You could say we have unlimited manpower (from 5 to 30) but

the most important thing is simply getting the abundant new mexico sun to do what a 24/7 fireplace with a hot top does for like 100 square feet affordable !

Thanks a ton! and extra love if you actually help us white people :) keep helping these wonderful Native Americans of every age and belief who can't haul like college kids.

Update:

so far i don't think i have the perfect answer. yes, i am basically looking for something to heat the air even at night because that is when they would freeze to death without fire, (without tearing up flooring either) and these people have no electricity (they also would probably not be opposed if the heating WORKS like fire does). The Chapter head or whoever in the Nation does supply the list of needs each year but i'm pretty sure they would not help with $ because as it is we have to pay for each load's permit thing ourselves even though it is simply non-profit, working with a Navajo pastor's family.

8 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Best answer

    Solar water heating will heat water, sure. However, you asked about solar power heating which I interpreted differently; I thought you meant solar power for heating the air inside their homes.

    If this is what you meant, then there are three choices:

    1. Water based solar radiant heating with liquid based tubes on the roof which would cycle down to tubes underneath their floor boards to heat the inside floors and thus the inside air

    2. Solar air heaters which are placed on the roof or south facing wall of the home and would collect air from inside the home, use the sun to heat it and then recycle it back inside the home

    3. Electricity based solar radient heating with solar PV panels on the roof connected to radiant pads underneath the floor inside the home.

    However, I believe neither of these three could provide heat at night (the solar air heater and water based solar radient heating for sure) so there would need to be a supplemental heating system for night and on cloudy days....perhaps a combination of 2 and 3.

    As well, reduce the amount of heating needed by reducing / eliminating air leaks, increasing attic and wall insullation, and changing a few simple habits.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Solar hot water is a breeze and cheap too. Two collectors on the roof will supply hot water for domestic use and heating as well. The wood stove can be used as a back up system on rainy days and as a booster in. In new installations coil copper or plastic pipe over the reinforcing before laying concrete slab, existing homes use metal wall radiators. Works like this, cold water comes into the system at the lowest point of the collectors (which can be purchased ready to go, made on site or el cheapo, just coiled black plastic hose on roof,) Above the collectors is a insulated storage tank. In summer the system just provides domestic hot water, in winter turn a valve to introduce the heated water through the floor or radiators. Your wood fire should have a coil installed in the back connected to the system when the fire is lit it supplies additional heating. You don't need a pump as the whole system works on convection currents.

    Also check out the stirling engine generator from www,whispergen.com which is a co-generation device producing both heat and electricity, these are now being sold all over the world and may be within your budget. They are neat!

    A website you should check out is www.builditsolar.com lots of great info and most of it free.

  • 4 years ago

    Solar hot water is a breeze and cheap too. Two collectors on the roof will supply hot water for domestic use and heating as well. The wood stove can be used as a back up system on rainy days and as a booster in. In new installations coil copper or plastic pipe over the reinforcing before laying concrete slab, existing homes use metal wall radiators. Works like this, cold water comes into the system at the lowest point of the collectors (which can be purchased ready to go, made on site or el cheapo, just coiled black plastic hose on roof,) Above the collectors is a insulated storage tank. In summer the system just provides domestic hot water, in winter turn a valve to introduce the heated water through the floor or radiators.

  • J.
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    Depending on how the roofs are set up- also have to remember that a roof mounted system also requires water pressure in the lines. If they do not have a water tower, they need to have a pump and PV panel.

    Since a lot of it will be best built on site, I suggest you spend time going through the website http://www.builditsolar.com , and look through the projects. My own first hand experience with passive heating is you can capture a lot of heat, storing it is the problem. Trombe walls might be a solution, but solar will also a hard sell for people who are used to heating with wood.

    There are also some heat box projects- these work, but if the sun is already shining the demand for heat while the sun is shining is minimal, it is when it is dark, and when it does rain or snow that you need the heat.

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  • Sarah
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    What a great idea! I'm curious to know if this project is in cooperation with the Navajo Nation, or if this is something being done independently.

    In Wisconsin, one of our tribes has recently installed solar hot water heaters as part of the ARRA grant. If you are doing this in conjunction with the tribe, I was thinking they might be able to receive the same grant. Even if this grant is not feasible, maybe there are other grants out there that could be helpful. Also, maybe if this is an independant project, there may be grants available from non-profit groups.

    Of course, in NM, solar panels will be much more beneficial for winter heating than here in Wisconsin. :)

    Here's a link to a short bit about our water heaters, but it also contains the name and number of the Development and Modernization Director who might be resourceful should you need more information.

    http://www.ho-chunknation.com/UserFiles/PR-SolarH2...

    Hope this was helpful and good luck!!!

  • 4 years ago

    the answer depends on to many things. In the sunny parts of my state, the local solar water heating distributor calculated I'd need over to acres (90,000 square feet) of panels and about 1000 gallons of storage to completely shutdown my 98% efficient condensing boiler. the cost, for my 3000 sq ft house new solar water heater would have been about $250,000. with all state and federal rebates $150,000. My annual electric bill for circulating the water would increase by $500, but I'd save $2000 on fuel. The payout would be 100 years.

  • 3 years ago

    Solar Power Design Manual : http://SolarPower.duebq.com/?KaF

  • 4 years ago

    The normal cost is 4500 dollar per ton.

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