The need for domestic solutions that use renewable energy sources is increasing as green energy has become more popular.
A variety of options are available for homeowners who want to cut their carbon footprint and save money on their electricity bills.
One such option is to use water solar panels or solar water heaters (as you may call them) to heat water.
But, the thought of cost might hold you back for a minute. Well, on the face of it, investing in solar energy is expensive initially.
However, the solar energy you’ll harness today will result in significant financial savings and environmental advantages in the longer run.
We’ll describe how a solar-powered water heater enables you to access a cost-free, renewable energy source.
Let us first understand what a water solar panel is and how does it work?
What is a Water Solar Panel: How Does It Function?
The solar water system for home delivers high volumes of hot water using renewable energy to lessen the need for grid power. Solar water heaters typically employ sunlight to heat water.
The thermosiphon theory underlies this system aims to provide hot water without using expensive electricity or power.
A solar water heater comprises components such as a solar collector, a heat exchanger, a hot water storage tank, a controller system, and a backup heater.
The energy-efficient solar water heaters use specialised rooftop solar collectors to capture energy from the sun.
The infrared portion of visible light is transformed into heat by the solar collectors. They contain a mixture of water and glycol.
This liquid is circulated in a circuit that includes the hot water tank. After that, it can be used to heat a room or provide hot water.
Most solar hot water systems have a controller system to prevent overheating of the water in the storage tank.
Lastly, each solar hot water system includes a backup heater. If it’s too cloudy for solar energy to heat enough water, a backup heater will heat water using gas or electricity.
What Are The Types of Solar Water Heaters?
There are two main types of solar heaters, each of which operates differently.
1. Active Solar Water Heaters
In active solar water heaters, hot water is transferred from the solar collectors to the hot water tank.
As the water is stored in a tank that can be put indoors to avert freezing, these are typically installed in regions with colder climates.
Active solar water heaters come in two varieties:
- Active Direct systems: they heat water directly in collectors before distributing it to your faucet.
- Active Indirect systems: these include the pumping of a non-freezing fluid through the solar collector into a heat exchanger in a closed loop system. Some heat loss may occur during this process.
2. Passive Solar Water Heaters
These solar water heaters use convection, a system of water circulation in which hotter water rises to the surface and colder water sinks.
Since they don’t need specialised machinery to pump the water, passive water heating systems are comparatively less expensive than active ones.
The two types include –
- Integral collector solar water heaters: they comprise large storage tanks that are enclosed in a box and have a transparent top to let sunlight in. Thereafter, the hot water flows into the plumbing system.
- Passive thermosyphon systems: they heat water in small batches using metal flat plate collectors. When hot water valves are opened, hot water from the batch collector at the top of your roof flows down to your faucets.
How To Choose An Ideal Solar Water System For Home?
Each type of solar water heater works efficiently in different kinds of environments:
- – Direct active systems are more resistant to freezing damage in colder climates.
- – Families who use more hot water during the daytime should purchase a passive solar water heating system as it provides multiple small batches of hot water.
- – If you have more space on the rooftop, installing a passive thermosyphon solar water heater can be a good option.
- – Integral collector water heater systems can weigh over 180 kgs, so ensure that your rooftop can support this much weight before purchasing this system.
Additionally, while installing a water solar panel, ensure the following points:
- – It should have enough collector area to support the claimed capacity. For instance, on a sunny winter day in typical north Indian weather, an sq. m. of collector area should be able to warm 50 litres of water to a temperature of 30–40° C.
- – The absorbers should have a good quality coating, and the collectors should be made of high-quality materials.
- – To protect the water solar panel system from damage in strong winds, it should be mounted on a sturdy framework and securely fastened to the roof.
How To Maintain A Water Solar Panel System?
A water solar panel system will continue to operate smoothly after installation if properly maintained.
Passive solar water heating systems require little maintenance. However, for active water heating systems, you must check the owner’s manual and consult your system provider about the maintenance requirements.
In dry climates where rainwater doesn’t act as a natural rinse, glazing may need to be cleaned.
Simple systems only require routine maintenance every 3-5 years, preferably performed by a solar contractor. After 10 years, electrical systems typically need the replacement of a few components.
Is There Any Difference Between Solar Panels And Solar Water Heaters?
You are not alone if you have read or heard the terms ‘solar panels’ and ‘solar water heaters’ used interchangeably.
While they both require placement on your rooftop facing south because they both work by absorbing sunlight – that is the only similarity between them.
What they produce is the first key distinction between solar panels and solar water heaters.
By absorbing light particles (photons), isolating the electrons, and then guiding them through a wire, solar panels use the photovoltaic effect to generate electricity.
On the other hand, solar water heaters don’t generate electricity but heat water. They utilise sunlight differently, converting it into heat as opposed to electricity.
Although the two systems serve different objectives, they aim to replace conventional power sources with inexpensive, renewable energy.
About 20% of the energy consumed in a household is used for water heating. You can lower your monthly water heating costs by employing energy-saving techniques and selecting an energy-efficient solar water system for home.
In fact, if you install a water solar panel at home, your water heating bills should reduce to around 50 – 80% on average.
And who needs to worry about fuel shortages and price hikes when the sun’s energy is free of cost?
So, with this knowledge, you can decide whether a water solar panel is a wise choice for your home’s hot water requirements.
Q. What is a solar water heater?
As the name suggests, a solar water system for home produces hot water utilising sunlight.
For every 100 litres of daily capacity, a typical solar water heating system can save up to 1500 units of electricity annually.
Q. Why should I choose a solar water heater for my home?
A water solar panel or solar heater has many advantages, including –
- – It conserves energy, which in turn saves money. This is especially true in a situation when the electricity prices are rising and supply is becoming unpredictable.
- – Solar water heaters don’t produce any pollution.
- – Due to their installation on the rooftop, solar water heaters are safer than electric geysers.
Q. What is the cost of a solar water system for home?
A solar water heating system’s overall cost depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the tank’s capacity, the type of backup system used, the composition materials, etc.
The typical market price for a water solar panel manufactured in India ranges between ₹15,000 and ₹20,000, excluding the distribution piping.
However, this range is merely indicative and may vary from one manufacturer to another.