Solar water heating systems use solar panels, called collectors, which for maximum efficiency are fitted on the roof of the house, in case of an apartment the side which receives the most sunlight. The basic function of solar water heating panels is to collect and store the heat from the sun and use it to warm water which is stored in a hot water tank.
Solar water heating panels use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water; it is not used in heavy industries as it is unable to provide the required quantity. A conventional boiler, immersion heater, or geyser may be used to make the water even hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable. Adding a heater is totally up to the discretion of the home owner; you may or may not find it necessary.
There are two types of solar water heating panels; they are evacuated tubes and flat plate collectors. Flat plate’s collectors can be fixed on the roof tiles or integrated into the roof. Both evacuated tubes as well as most flat plate collectors have a life expectancy of over 20 years, thus making them an good long term investment.
Solar water heating panels need around 5 square meters of roof and receive direct sunlight for the main part of the day. However, if you do not have a south facing roof and if you have enough space, you could install two panels, one facing east and one facing west – but this will make installation process more expensive and certainly more tedious. The solar panels don’t always have to be mounted on a roof; they can be fixed to a frame on any flat area that receives direct sunlight too.
The use of solar water heating devices is becoming very popular for many home owners in places such as France, Spain, Italy, Australia and the United States. One of the prominent reasons for the increase in popularity is attributed to government incentives for financing renewable energy projects, and also because of more efficient and affordable designs, are being developed every day. There are many benefits of using solar energy to provide with hot water, with the main benefit being the reduction in electricity bills.