Solar water heating is different to photovoltaics, as it does not convert solar energy into electricity, but harnesses it to supply warmth. This solar hot water can be saved during the day and released when required. Most solar collectors are flat plate collectors or evacuated tube collectors. They can be used for residential as well as commercial buildings to heat swimming pools, water or air.
Advantages of a Solar Water Heating System
Houses in the UK need hot and cold water all year round. Most of them use central water heaters which are run electrically, or with gas or oil power. They can be quite expensive where a lot of hot water is necessary. Solar water heating systems are a good alternative to electrical water heaters, especially during summer months. During winter months solar water heating systems can be used as support to other heating systems, as long as the sun is shining for a few hours per day.
Once installed, a solar water heating system works free and the running costs are generally very low. A solar water system can passively maintain comfortable water temperatures and help reduce energy consumption.
Methods and types of solar water heating
There are several basic types of solar water heating with the most common and affordable systems using flat plate collectors. Flat plate solar water heating systems are also very popular with residential users. They are relatively easy to maintain and can also be integrated with existing solar water heating systems. Evacuated tube collectors are more expensive, but also more efficient.
While the financial benefits of solar water heating include save energy costs annually, the environmental benefits are also substantial. Active pump solar water heating systems still generate and use much less electricity than traditional gas or electrical water systems, meaning carbon output is greatly reduced. The reliance on fossil fuels is also partially or completely removed, making it a much cleaner and more Eco-friendly source of hot water.