- Solar Solutions
As mentioned before, the old adage that April showers bring May flowers is not true for many states across the US. Particularly, in the southwest, rain is especially scarce this year. Water reservoirs are being depleted as the drought season rolls forward. So in states where it is difficult to maintain a garden, what can one do to still grow their favorite herbs and vegetables? The answer: construct a greenhouse, preferably, an energy efficient one!
Greenhouses date back to sometime around 30AD during the Roman Empire. These greenhouses weren’t at all like the ones we have today; rather, they were plant beds that could be rolled and adjusted according to the sunlight. Some had transparent stone tops to trap the heat. Fast-forward to today, and you’ll notice that greenhouses have made quite a leap forward in terms of materials, efficiency, and aesthetics. Modern greenhouses are constructed with large glass panels, glazed roofing, and concrete floors. Some contain hydropnic systems, water circulation systems, high tech lighting, and automatic watering timers. We’ve certainly come a long way since 30AD.
To give a basic overview of building materials, modern greenhouses are built with extra insulation to prevent heat escape during the night and colder winter months. The corners and roof should be tightly sealed to prevent water leaks both inside and outside. To keep the inside warm, the flooring materials must be conducive to trapping and holding heat. Preferable flooring materials include concrete or plant beds, and some people even use bricks.
Although not true in every greenhouse, many have walls that are entirely composed of large glass panels or windows. Polycarbonate and acrylic materials are also commonly used as wall materials, as they are both transparent and lightweight. Each greenhouse also needs a few fans and vents to circulate the air within. The vents and fans also pull fresh air in from the outside. For best growing results, the greenhouse should be facing the south rather than directly east or west. Though the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, angling the house in such a way will prevent overheating in the summer and overcooling in the winter.
Greenhouse lighting varies according to the needs of the plants within. Some greenhouses are designed to be completely dependent upon daylight, and are constructed without lighting sources. In regions where there are frequent overcast days, or fewer daylight hours, this may not be ideal. For seeds and cuttlings or herbs, fluorescent lighting is often preferred. HID, or High Intensity Discharge lighting is otherwise generally favored over fluorescent, as you need less bulbs to do the same job. HID lighting works great, even if the bulbs are not positioned near the plant.
If the greenhouse is located in an area without electricity, solar panels should be installed on the rooftop or at ground level next to the greenhouse. Renogy 100W, 200W, and 250W solar panels are suitable for such installations. The solar panels will need to be wired, through MC4 connectors, to a charge controller. The charge controller will regulate the charging of the sealed lead acid battery, which in turn will provide power for the electrical appliances in the greenhouse. Solar panels are not only useful for lighting, but also for water pumping systems, automated watering devices, and aquaponics. Even if the greenhouse is on-grid, solar panels and/or wind systems can reduce electric costs and increase efficiency.
So, Whether you’re looking for a panel for a business, home, or greenhouse Renogy has just what you need. Browse online 24/7 at Renogy-store.com. Have questions about a solar panel for your greenhouse? Call our technical support engineers M-F, 9am-5pm PST.