Image: Bosch Thermotechnology LimitedThe use of a solar hot water cylinder has become increasingly popular in recent years. Powered by solar collectors, ideally south facing, a solar hot water cylinder can provide a high-capacity water storage solution that can take care of most of your household hot water requirements.
A dedicated single coil cylinder is a marginally cheaper option to install and to integrate with your existing heating system. For homes with a conventional boiler, it is as simple as replacing your existing hot water cylinder with a dedicated single coil cylinder. The major cost snag you might encounter when installing your new solar hot water cylinder will be if you have a combination boiler, or combisystem.
If this is the case, you will not already have a hot water cylinder, and it will be necessary to check with the manufacturer and a solar professional to see if you can add a solar hot water cylinder, or if your boiler will have to be replaced.
It is important to factor these costs into your budget, or your cost-cutting measures could prove to be more expensive than you had bargained for, at least in the short-term. However, in discussing with a solar expert, together you can find a cost-effective solution to your energy bills.
Advantages & disadvantages of a solar hot water cylinder
So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of installing a solar hot water cylinder as a thermal storage solution? Well, your dedicated single coil cylinder may not cover all of your family's hot water needs, even during the summer months, but it will make a positive dent in your bills. The downside, however, is that storage volumes are large, you may require multiples of a single unit depending on your hot water needs, and an extra solar hot water cylinder will, naturally, take up more space.
Although the initial layout for installing a solar hot water cylinder in your home might be a considerable undertaking, the savings – both to your energy bills and to the planet by making your home greener – will result in high returns in the long run.