Solar Star is the Solatube-brand ventilation system. As a company, Solatube has its foundation in a technological innovation that started development in the 1980s: the Solatube skylight. However, we’ve done more over the past 25 years than simply improve our groundbreaking daylighting system. As a company that is dedicated to taking full, direct advantage of solar energy, we have taken our expertise on solar power and our wide range of flashings for different roof types and developed Solar Star. Solar Star is a solar panel-powered rooftop fan for roof cavity ventilation and here’s how it works.
How Solar Star Works
Solar Star is entirely powered by solar voltaic panels, so it requires no electricity. That means that you won’t have to hire an electrician or go to the trouble of bringing electrical wiring up to your roof cavity. The solar panels power an efficient motor that spins lightweight, low resistance, rust-proof polymeric fan blades. Hot air exits the roof cavity through a durable and rust-proof polymeric exhaust screen that is fully integrated with the unit.
Solar Star will work in both sun and shade, but if you plan to install one in a location where direct sunlight is rare, we can provide a booster solar panel to increase its effectiveness. Obviously, the brighter the sunlight, the faster the fan. In the summer, that means the roof cavity gets the most ventilation when it’s absorbing the most solar radiation — and that’s exactly what you want.
Installation and Operation
Solar Star is installed into your roof using the same kind of flashings that are included with our tubular skylights. These flashings, designed for pretty much every type of flat and pitched roof that can be found in Australia, will ensure that Solar Star is leakproof and easy to install. Whatever your roof pitch and whatever your roofing material, Solar Star can be installed in around half an hour. The main unit with the exhaust screen, fan and solar panel is mounted to the flashing and base with high quality, long lasting stainless steel screws.
Appearance and Acoustics
Solar Star is nice looking and low profile, so it won’t have a negative impact on the appearance of your roof. It’s much more subtle and attractive than a whirlybird and depending on the size you buy, one Solar Star provides the same amount of ventilation as at least ten whirlybirds. It is also quiet. You won’t hear it from the building interior or exterior. Because it’s solar powered and therefore only runs during the day, you won’t hear it at night no matter how close it is or how quiet its surroundings.
An Ideal Solution
Solar Star is perfect for cooling your roof cavity during a hot Australian summer as it runs fastest when the sun is bright and direct, it provides more air changes exactly when they’re needed. At night when it’s cooler, it provides minimal, passive ventilation through its exhaust screen. It works in both summer and winter and in most homes, that’s exactly what’s needed. It’s easy for most people to understand why roof ventilation is a good thing during the summer months; a hotter roof cavity means a hotter house. In a future post, we’ll discuss exactly why most houses also benefit from roof ventilation in the winter.
The Solar Star, like the Solatube skylight, is an easy win. It uses direct sunlight to provide a benefit that would previously have required the use of electricity. Since both skylights and mechanical vents are roof-mounted, Solar Star benefits from some of the same components that we developed for use with Solatubes. Although the function is different, the philosophy is the same, why waste electricity when sunlight is free?