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Solar Powered Greenhouse: The Ultimate Guide to Solar Charge your Greenhouse in 2024

Self-sufficiency has always been a powerful part of sustainability. Providing for your needs by reducing and generation can lower your carbon footprint while increasing independence. Fortunately, this concept is becoming more popular as solar-powered greenhouses enter the scene. 

Solar-Powered Greenhouses on Self-Sufficiency

Solar-powered greenhouses are an excellent structure for residential spaces since they enable locals to be more eco-friendly and self-sufficient as they manage their households. 

1. They Run Themselves

Building emissions create trade-offs. Some designs have high embodied energy throughout construction to have less energy consumption. With solar-powered greenhouses, the result is considerably higher than the operational emissions involved because of how it runs through agrivoltaics.

Start with its energy consumption. Compared to other buildings, a greenhouse uses less light since the walls allow the light to come true. Temperature regulation is also ideal, provided the materials and construction work offer good insulating properties. 

Solar roofs can harvest energy to help the greenhouse run at night or when sunlight is unavailable. Scientists have even noticed that adding a layer of L-glutathione to the mechanisms maintains over 80% efficiency after 1,000 hours of continuous use. Even better, you can conserve that solar energy with the proper storage solutions.

Watch this video by Ted-Ed to learn more about solar roofs:

2. They Are Scalable

Solar-powered greenhouses are a great space, creating an excellent environment to grow plants and foster smaller creatures. However, some people may also go the extra mile to include other functions for the home. For instance, some people like to use the solar energy collected to power their residential household on the same property. 

Other people also add water circulation and filtration systems to their greenhouse. While these amenities are optional, having the opportunity to scale the structure up and down with different features can increase its self-sufficiency level in the long run.

3. They Cultivate Food

Another benefit of solar-powered greenhouses is their ability to cultivate different kinds of food. Meat is becoming more expensive and is associated with methane gas production. There’s also the problem with accessibility and your carbon footprint.

Solar-powered greenhouses can accommodate all kinds of fruits and vegetables, from tomatoes to chives to lettuce. The controlled environment is ideal for edible flowers like honeysuckle and marigolds. Just remember to space out your soil beds and pots to allow each plant to flourish.

Some people may worry solar panels in greenhouses can hinder plant growth and quality. However, some studies show how semi-transparent panel systems have little to no effect on the necessary light rays. Thus, you can still cultivate your food and maintain its nutritional quality in the long run. 

tomatoes growing in a green house

4. They Help the Environment

Greenhouses have always had a reputation as a space for self-sufficiency, but conventional versions of these spaces still use up a considerable amount of electricity. Whether lighting or powering up other greenhouse equipment and machinery, it’s best to utilize renewable energy to avoid releasing extra environmental emissions.

Coupling reduced energy use with the structure’s method of personal energy production through a solar panel system makes the ordinary greenhouse more efficient than ever. It also taps into natural sources while running, making its self-sufficiency eco-friendly.

5. They Require Low Maintenance

Most buildings may require a lot in terms of maintenance, which can add to their overall carbon footprint. However, solar-powered greenhouses only require minimal maintenance. You can schedule cleaning and inspections for your solar roofs now and then.

Pests may try to approach the space for the crops and plants inside the greenhouse. However, it’s entirely natural for them to gravitate toward your greenery. Look out for cracks or openings in the structure and seal them up. You can also spray some essential oils on the exterior walls to drive away adult moths and roaches from the space.

Cleaning of solar panels

Key Components of a Solar-Powered Greenhouse

Solar-powered greenhouses have multiple components that allow them to function the way they do. Look into these parts if you want to create one of your own.

Solar Roofs

Solar roofs are the star of the show for your greenhouse since they are responsible for less energy consumption and higher energy production. Some solar-powered greenhouses can use panel systems, but it’s important to distinguish both. 

A solar roof has shingles that act like smaller solar panels directly attached to the roofing of your greenhouse. Meanwhile, a solar panel system’s component is mounted only on the system. Both can still collect adequate solar energy to support your conservatory. They may slightly differ depending on tile sizing and efficiency. 

Some people who attach their solar-powered greenhouse near their homes use the energy it connects throughout their property. There is hope that solar energy will power 45% of U.S. electricity by 2050. This shift will help meet global sustainability goals.

Thermal Mass

Thermal mass is a vital property in the building design of solar-powered greenhouses. These buildings need to be in direct sunlight to collect solar energy. While storing away renewables is good, you must also consider the heat it’s keeping away.

Most people prefer a higher thermal mass when day and night temperatures are several degrees apart. Some plants still need a bit of warmth throughout the night, so it’s vital to find green building materials that can accommodate these perks.

Glass has relatively low thermal mass, which can raise issues in storing or distributing heat. Consider alternatives like transparent wood instead. This material provides better heat insulation and optimizes your solar-powered greenhouse’s thermal storage in the long run. 

Ventilation Systems

Solar-powered greenhouses require a comprehensive ventilation system to ensure good crop quality. Heat insulation is essential, but the hot air must circulate to keep plants from suffocating. Plus, its release can allow fresh air to flow, aiding photosynthesis.

There are a variety of ventilation systems that can work together with the rest of your structure. For instance, a controlled mechanical ventilation system can significantly decrease temperature. Meanwhile, an Earth-to-Air Heat Exchanger can offer more air volume changes per hour.

Passive Positioning

Passive positioning is crucial to gauge the amount of sunlight and heat your solar-powered greenhouse will collate. It is generally recommended to have the structure face the north side of your property since the sun rises from this direction. 

Some greenhouse owners may put their space in an isolated part of their property. By removing obstructions like a second building or trees, your solar roofs or panels can collect as much renewable energy as possible.

Watch Baltic Homesteaders’ video on other critical considerations with passive solar greenhouses.

Considerations for Solar-Powered Greenhouses

Solar-powered greenhouses can help improve one’s self-sufficient capabilities. However, there are several factors to consider before proceeding with such a project. 

Location

A solar-powered greenhouse can take up a considerable amount of space, especially if you want to place the structure in a standalone location. Some existing property lots may already have a preexisting household that takes up all the space needed for a greenhouse.

Apart from the location’s environment, there’s also the matter of location. Solar-powered greenhouses need to be in a space with plenty of sunlight. Some states have less sun exposure, which can raise questions about how the structure will accumulate solar energy.

If you are in a state with sun exposure, you still have to see what you can do to cope with weather disruptions. A cloudy day or a rain hurricane can make sunlight inaccessible. You can still count on energy previously stored away, provided you regulate how much you use.

vegetables growing in a green house

Initial Investment

A solar-powered greenhouse can provide many financial savings since it generates energy. However, the construction project and installation of solar-collecting features come with a considerable cost. It’s essential to explore grants that can finance these projects.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funds about 85% of the residential solar photovoltaic systems. If you want to create a small agricultural business from what you harvest from your greenhouse, it’s also possible to find a renewable energy loan.

Craftsmanship

Solar greenhouses are still relatively new projects for construction companies to take on and install. There are kits available for you to buy and set up yourself, but mistakes can compromise their quality and potential for self-sufficiency.

It’s still best to find specialists who understand how they can create an efficient and functional solar-powered greenhouse. Connect with service providers that practice green construction techniques to ensure minimal emissions and impact.

Become Self-Sufficient with Solar-Powered Greenhouses

Greenhouses have always been connected with self-sufficiency. Including solar energy and optimal construction techniques has elevated the space to much more. Make the necessary considerations beforehand and introduce this structure to your land.

References

Science Daily: Plants would grow well in solar cell greenhouses
Nature.com: Global greenhouse gas emissions from residential and commercial building materials and mitigation strategies to 2060
MDPI: Dynamic Analysis of the Natural and Mechanical Ventilation of a Solar Greenhouse by Coupling Controlled Mechanical Ventilation (CMV) with an Earth-to-Air Heat Exchanger (EAHX)
U.S. National Science Foundation: Scientists design solar roofs to harvest energy for greenhousesU.S. Department of Energy: Residential Solar Energy Guide for Finance Professionals

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