Solar Panels for Hot Water
More consumers use solar energy to heat swimming pools than for any other use, with some 300,000 US pools heated by the sun. Heating water through a thermal solar energy system is a cost-efficient choice. Water heating accounts for roughly one-fourth of the total energy used in a normal single-family home. Electric water heaters are the single biggest energy users of all home appliances.
A typical solar water heating system can reduce the need for conventional water heating by two-thirds, and can save owners 85 percent of the costs of electric water heating.
A typical solar water heating system costs around $7,000 and homeowners usually recoup their investment, through energy savings, in less than five years.
How Does Solar Water Heating Work?
A typical solar water heater has one or two solar thermal collector panels, which resemble skylights, on the roof. The panels are about 4 feet wide and 8-10 feet long and usually have an absorber plate coated with a dark selective coating to convert the sun’s radiation to heat.
The cold-water supply is connected to the solar storage tank. Water circulates between the storage tank and the solar collectors.
The solar heater is connected to the house’s existing electric, gas or oil water heater. When the water coming in from the solar heater is hot or hotter than the temperature setting on the indoor heater, the existing water heater stays inactive. When the solar-heated water falls below the indoor water heater’s temperature setting, the indoor heater kicks in to make up the difference.
Next, we will discuss portable solar panels.