A solar fan is simply a mechanical fan powered by solar energy. A fan is a particularly appropriate device to be powered by the sun because it is most commonly used in the daytime and not so often at night.

Seldom does a fan require any supplemental power beyond what can be provided by a small bank of solar cells. If a house has a rooftop solar system installed, a solar fan can be connected directly to the system rather than plugged into the house current; as the fan generally need not be run at night, it does not generate the same concerns as other electrical uses such as lighting.

A solar fan comes with its own solar cells, though, so no rooftop system is actually needed to use it.

Solar Attic Fan

An attic fan is useful when an attic has low airflow and when there is a rupture or gap in the sealing between the attic and the rest of the building. The fan improves the airflow, drawing air up from the building into the attic, reducing the moisture in the air and conserving energy.

The attic fan serves to cool the entire building, not just the attic. The cooler outside air enters the house through the windows, and is then pulled up into the attic by the fan.

Using a solar-powered fan for this purpose makes sense on many levels. It is environmentally friendly, less expensive in the long run (although it may be slightly more expensive up front), and reduces the risk of electrical accidents as a solar fan has no cords
to plug in and possibly risk current exposure or fire.

Solar Greenhouse Fan

Another application for a solar fan is in a greenhouse, where it can aid in air circulation and moisture control (cooling is not a concern in a greenhouse as it is in an attic).

Placement of the solar cells that power the fan is important in this context as it is not desirable to block the sunlight going into the greenhouse itself. Plants require fresh air as much as animals do, since plants breathe in their own fashion, and a well-insulated greenhouse can lack proper circulation.

Solar Car Fan

A smaller version of a solar fan is available for automobiles. The purpose is not to cool or ventilate the car while driving (for that, air conditioning works much better, even if it’s of the four-forty type – leaving all four windows open while driving 40 mph or faster), but rather for providing ventilation and some cooling while the car is parked in the sun in a hot climate.

The fan fits into the top of a window and is powered by a small solar cell. It recirculates air from outside into the car and hot, stale air from the car to the outside. This can make the car more comfortable after exposure to the hot sun, and also reduce the risk of toxic chemicals being released by the car’s upholstery in high-temperature conditions.

Solar Fan Kits

It’s possible to find kits to make solar fans appropriate for building ventilation (such as an attic fan) that reduce the cost of the complete fan by around 50%. Amazon, eBay, and other outlets for discount purchases on line have solar fan kits for as low as $10. The amount of work needed to put the fan together is minimal and basically involves connecting the solar panel to the fan itself.

Solar Fan Hat

One can also find hats available with built-in small solar fans for cooling the cranium on hot days. Suitable for a jungle safari or at least for stimulating conversation.

  • author's avatar

    By: Neville

    New Zealand based entrepreneur and passive income machine. My views are my own a reflect me exactly. My family comes first and I believe a strong family unit is the backbone of any safe functioning society. I am a strong advocate for justice, which incorporates equity and fairness. I’m a skeptic and am always open to change any of my views based on evidence. I also love tennis and American muscle cars.

  • author's avatar

    Visit the author’s website