Now Introducing… Solar-powered Whole House Fans!

Not really. The headline above is a little tongue-in-cheek. Readers of this blog will know our fans are designed to be run at night, when cool outdoor temperatures can be drawn indoors. Since photovoltaic cells can’t generate electricity at night, directly powering a whole house fan with solar generated electricity isn’t possible—unless, of course, one wants to run their fan during the day, which would heat the home rather than cool it!

We do, however, frequently receive calls from homeowners wanting to know if they can run a whole house fan directly off of their home solar array. We wish they could. Because they’re a more efficient substitute for mechanical air conditioning, whole house fans greatly compliment solar by reducing the size of array needed to provide the same cooling. But again, photovoltaics don’t work at night.

To operate a whole house fan with electricity generated by a solar array, homeowners need some sort of energy storage device that would allow them to store electricity they generate but do not use during the day. Then, this stored electricity could be drawn down through the night to power the whole house fan.

In short, they need a battery—which is why we’ve followed Tesla’s recent announcement of their new Powerwall home battery system with great interest. Home battery systems have been available for some time now. But they have never been as prominent in the popular discourse as they are now, makings this the ideal moment for a blog post “back of the envelope” analysis about using a home battery to operate an AirScape fan.

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Our solar install continues weather permitting (a Southern Oregon winter is a rainy mess) Between rain showers we were able to complete the second phase of construction.


A steel upright being moved into position


The cement truck getting ready to pour cement into the footings


The concrete cured, forms removed, and the steel uprights waiting for the next phase of construction


PART 1 / PART 2 /



We thought we would share some pictures of our new solar installation here at AirScape HQ. We chose a site on an unused corner of the property that is perfectly situated for our solar install . The site was cleared of a massive blackberry bush so that work could begin. Blackberries are an invasive species here in Oregon so we didn’t feel too bad about removing them even though they were so delicious. We’ll put up more pictures as the work continues.

The site cleared and holes dug for the footings


The footing forms in place and the trenches dug for the electrical conduit


BONUS PIC: The stalk of the giant blackberry bush (1″ across for reference)


PART 1 / PART 2 /


Solar Loves Whole House Fans

There are a couple of trends that will affect solar photovoltaic installations:

  • Newer electrical rate structures encourage conservation (tiered rates)
  • ‘Energy Security’ is a powerful motivator
  • Photovoltaic rebates require house efficiency check-ups

We think  solar energy gathering is great. The idea of  getting electricity essentially for  free energy has certainly captivated our imaginations. Even though the cost of photovoltaic panels is dropping very quickly, the investment is still considerable.  Our crystal ball tells us that electrical energy is very, very versatile and will be in demand as electrical cars come on stream and coal fired electrical power plants start to show their ugly side. (coal burning)

As the demand for clean electrical energy increases, its value will certainly not go down.   In fact, if the validity of predicting cheap energy such as the famous line is any guide “too cheap to meter”,then we should get prepared for high prices.

By combining whole house fans solar contractors and  homeowners  can:

  • Decrease the initial investment in PV panels
  • AND/ OR
  • Increase the  Return on Investment for the entire system