Solar attic fans provide an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective way to keep your attic cool. These fans run on power generated from solar panels, removing hot air without increasing your electricity bills. In this blog post, we’ll look at how solar attic fans work, their benefits, types of fans available, proper sizing and placement, costs, incentives, and important considerations before installing one.
How Do Solar Attic Fans Work?
Solar attic fans use photovoltaic solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. This powers a DC motor that runs the attic fan. As the fan spins, it sucks hot air from the attic and pushes it outside. Cooler, less humid air then enters through attic vents. The process lowers attic temperatures without using AC power.
Benefits of Solar Attic Fans
There are many good reasons to consider installing solar attic fans:
Reduce Energy Costs
By removing heat from your attic, solar fans lower reliance on air conditioning, reducing electricity usage and power bills.
Solar power emits no greenhouse gases. It’s a clean energy source that helps lower your carbon footprint.
With no moving parts, solar panels last 25-30 years. Combined with a quality DC motor, solar fans provide decades of reliable operation.
Increased Home Value
Adding solar power and energy-efficient features like a solar attic fan can increase your home’s value.
Tax Credits and Rebates
You may qualify for government incentives that reduce the upfront cost of installing solar attic ventilation.
Types of Solar Attic Fans
While products vary across manufacturers, here are the main types of solar attic fans:
Panel Mounted Fans
The fan unit mounts directly to the solar panel frame, forming one piece for quick installation.
Remote Mounted Fans
The fan unit and solar panel are separate components, providing more flexibility for placement options.
Variable Speed Fans
Advanced units regulate speed based on attic conditions to provide airflow when needed most.
Thermostat Controlled Units
These fans automatically turn on when the attic reaches a certain high temperature due to solar heat gain.
Sizing and Placement
Proper sizing and placement ensures optimum efficiency:
- Choose the right performance ratings based on your attic size, roof features, and climate. Consider variable speed for peak performance.
- Mount solar panels on south-facing sections of the roof for maximum sun exposure.
- Install fans near the highest heat sources like lighting and chimneys.
- Ensure proper connections between the solar panel, fan, motor, and vents so airflow circulates well.
- Follow all local building codes for roof mounting, electrical, and ventilation requirements.
Typical solar fan costs include:
- Solar fan unit – $200 to $1000 depending on size, power, features.
- Roof mounting hardware – $50 to $500 if penetrating the roof.
- Electrical wiring/connections – $0 to $200 if electrician is needed.
- Permits – $0 to $100 depending on location.
- Professional installation – $200 to $1000. DIY is cheaper.
Compare costs to the long-term savings on energy bills. Solar incentives can offset 30% or more of upfront costs.
Available Tax Credits and Rebates
Significant savings are available to lower installation costs:
- Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit – 26% of costs in 2022-2023, 22% in 2024.
- State/local solar incentives – Tax credits, rebates, sales tax exemptions, renewable energy credits.
- Utility company rebates – Check with your provider.
- Equipment manufacturer rebates – Ask about available promotional offers.
Be sure to research all available solar incentives in your area.
Before installing a solar attic fan, ensure:
- Your roof gets optimal sun exposure throughout the day.
- You meet all permitting, electrical, building code and HOA requirements.
- Your attic has proper intake vents to complement the exhaust fan.
- Roof penetrations are properly flashed and sealed by a pro.
- The unit you choose is durable and backed by a good warranty.
With a properly sized and placed solar attic fan, you can stay cool while saving energy and money for years to come.
Solar attic fans provide an effective, environmentally-sustainable solution for removing hot air from your attic. The solar power removes heat and moisture without increasing electricity bills, lowering reliance on AC. When sized and placed correctly, solar attic fans can significantly reduce attic temperatures while providing long-lasting, trouble-free operation. Take advantage of available incentives to offset the initial installation costs. With minimal maintenance needs, a solar attic fan can deliver decades of hot air relief using the renewable power of the sun.