Solar Water Heaters & Heating Systems
As far as solar power goes, photovoltaic technology hogs most of the limelight. The solar panel has long been the poster child of renewable energy, thanks to its almost miraculous ability to instantly convert sunlight into usable electricity.
However, solar thermal offers various advantages that are hard to beat. For starters, solar water heaters can convert as much as 70% of sunlight into usable energy, as opposed to 15% to 20%, which is typically seen with photovoltaic cells. This does not mean that they are better than solar photovoltaic. Both solar technologies are designed to meet entirely different requirements, so you should carefully consider them before making a purchase.
Solar thermal has been around for a long time now. Its earliest usage can be traced back to the Greeks, when Archimedes used parabolic mirrors to set Roman ships on fire by concentrating sunlight on them in 212 BC. Today, large solar farms use essentially the same (albeit highly refined) method by using giant mirrors to reflect sunlight into a collector, which boils water to steam and then runs a turbine to create electricity. Solar water heating systems for residential use work slightly differently, but there are two main types:
Closed loop solar water heater: These use a heat exchanger, along with a liquid such as antifreeze, which has a freezing temperature much below that of water. The liquid is passed through a heat collector, and as its temperature increases, is moved to a heat exchanger, where water is heated. Closed loop solar water heaters are better equipped for colder climates with sub-freezing temperatures. As water expands when it freezes, it can burst pipes. This problem is mitigated by using liquids with lower freezing temperatures.
Open loop solar water heater: Simpler systems in which the water directly flows into the solar collector to be heated directly by solar radiation. Solar water heaters based on this design are simpler, and therefore easier to construct, as well as maintain.
Solar water heating systems offer various advantages. For one, instead of spending money every month on a gas powered water heater to heat your home, you can now use free energy from the sun to do so. According to US Department of Energy (DOE)1, the average solar water heater can reduce your water heating bills by 50% to 80%. As you are taking fuel out of the equation here, you are also protected against future price hikes.
Since solar water heating systems are fairly affordable and durable, they make an ideal addition to a household where sunlight is not a problem. Typically you will see a solar water heater being used for heating swimming pools, space heating (as well as cooling), and under-floor heating.
Solar energy opens up many avenues which were not available to the common person before. For the first time, you can become a power producer instead of remaining as a consumer.
At Verengo® Solar, we take great pride in helping people achieve energy independence via tailor-made solar power solutions. If you are interested in finding out how solar energy can transform your life for the better, then start by getting a free solar quote from us. It takes a few minutes of your time, and will help you understand how much you can save on your electric bill by going solar.
1Estimating Cost and Energy Efficiency, http://energy.gov/energysaver/estimating-cost-and-energy-efficiency-solar-water-heater/
What Can You Save With Solar?
With no end in sight for soaring electricity rates, your switch to solar will secure affordable power for your home & family for years to come.