Solar Space Heating in Northern BC

Several people have contacted me about using solar energy for space heating in the Prince George area. We get a substancial amount of sun shine over the course of a year. In fact, on an annual basis, we get slightly more sun than Florida and slightly less than Arizona, however, ours is mostly lumped into the summer season while theirs is spread more evenly throughout the year.

During the heating season, the days are much shorter with considerably more cloud cover. Solar space heating has potential for autumn and spring seasons but in November, December, and January, when we need it the most, it would not be very effective. Inter-seasonal heat storage has potential. One would store the summer heat in a large super-insulated under ground tank of water and use it during the winter. Water stores 19 times more heat than an equal volume of rock. Research on this technology is on-going.

The two charts in the following link show how many "full sun" hours we get per day and per month. The numbers represent the amount of solar energy available in kilowatt-hours per square meter of collector area during that period. For example, in March 2008, we averaged 3kWh per day so a 10 square meter collector would have been exposed to 30kWh of energy. It would have collected less than that depending on the efficiency of the particular collector. The measured data compares favorably with published figures which indicates that the published data is a reliable design parameter.

Prince George Peak Sun Hours (kWh/M2)