Your Questions About Solar Energy Calculator

Helen asks…

Can you get solar energy from a household lamp ?

Can you get solar energy from a household lamp?

admin answers:

Jordan is technically correct. But if you mean to ask if light from a lamp can produce electricity in a solar cell, then yes it can. But the amount of power the solar cell would produce is always less than the power needed to make the lamp shine, so there is no point in doing it. Except possibly for using a hand held calculator that has a solar cell on it and no battery. The light from the lamp will be enough to power such a calculator.

Charles asks…

How do you determine sun angle to apply in passive solar design?

I’m trying to self-educate myself in principle of passive solar construction. I have a basic understanding of the principle behind it:
-Capture winter sun
-Block out Summer sun
-Thermal mass to store energy
-southernly facing within 15 degrees of true south

My question is, how do you determine/calculate the sun angle to accomodate the principle. I can do a sun angle calculator but I don’t know how to interepret and apply the output: for example:
how would I determine the angles winter & sun angles ( picture: based off of information received:

Lat/Long: 37.05N / 94.51W
Altitude Angle: -17.73
Azimuth Angle: -74.22
Clock time: 6:00am
Solar time: 5:38am
Hour Angle: -95.43
Declination: -22.97
Equation of time: -0.06
Sunrise: 7:28am
Sunset: 5:15pm

**the above is just an example of a given day***

Now that I have the data for that one day, how would I use those figures to determine the winter & summer critical sun angles?

I understand thats just any day and I think I would need the figures for for the beginning and end of the solistices to get a span, but what do those figures above tell me?

How would I use them to draw a diagram (like the link provided) for any given location to ensure enough glass would capture the maximum amount of sunlight in winter but determine enough overhand to block the sun?


admin answers:

The basic critical angle is 90 degrees minus your latitude. The sun angle will vary +/- about 23 degrees from this.
I found that I put an awning above my 2-story south windows which was just wide enough to completely block the sun at the summer solstice. This gave a varying amount of insolation throughout the year without the hassle of tracking.

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