If there’s one thing which can skyrocket your household bills, then it’s the cost of heating water. It’s not only very expensive, but it needs a huge load of energy. In most homes or other places, this is done with the help of oil or gas. After all, even modern boilers make use of gas. When it comes to household use, people use various water heaters that run on electricity or gas to heat water. While there are ways to reduce the use of warm water by practicing various lifestyle changes, but anyone living in these modern times will surely want to have hot water on demand and running.
If that’s your demand as well the having solar water heating systems will certainly help you in lowering the energy costs which are needed to heat water. This will reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, which are not just rapidly depleting but are more expensive and emit greenhouse gases more.
How to harness solar power to heat water?
To harness solar energy to heat the water you will have to install solar thermal panels which will store the sun’s energy. This energy can then be used to hear water than in turn can get stored safely in a water tank. The hot water can be drawn when the need arises. To be on the safe side you can add a boiler as a backup that will heat the water right to the needed temperature. Having this facility will certainly ensure that you get additional hot water during the various seasons.
While this solution might seem like nothing less than magic at first glance, but as with many things, you will have to know about the advantages as well as the disadvantages of using solar panels to heat water. This will certainly serve you well if you are indeed thinking of installing solar panels in your business or home for heating water. So to help you out here are:
The advantages of using solar panels for water heating are:
It’s free energy
Solar energy means that you have free energy. No patent can stop you from harnessing the sun’s energy as much as you want. As such it’s abundant as well. Even in cloudy weather, you will be able to harness it. This will certainly give your household water-heating measures a boost and ensure that you get hot water for a longer time.
Takes up less space
Know that these solar panels end up taking way less space than the solar PV panels. This is the reason because a house would need only around two or three panels which each measure around 2m x 1m to heat the cold water in their places. But when it comes to solar PV panels then you will need 10 to 16 in an array to harness enough of sun’s energy to heat water. So if you don’t have much roof space to devote to this or if much of your roof space is under the shade then using solar panels will be much more easy, beneficial and appropriate to put up.
Efficient usage of solar power
These solar panels are very efficient. Many people tend to think that solar panels are not very efficient. They think that they don’t draw enough energy from the sun to heat water. But that’s false. These panels can turn around 80% of the radiation into heat energy which can then be used to heat the coldest of waters. If you are willing to shell out more money then you can find better solar panels that can draw and retain much more solar power.
When compared to solar PV panels these are much cheaper to put up. You will find that you will only need anything two to three panels. The cost will be reduced as well. There are many rewards to be reaped.
Less money spent than on fossil fuels and electricity
These solar panels will save you a lot of money in the long run. A one-time investment will ensure that you don’t have to rely on fossil fuels for a long time. There will always be solar energy ready which can then heat water. Know that this will certainly reduce all the extra hassle associated with the procurement costs as well. When it comes to electric water heaters, you generally have to pay huge bills at the end of the year or month, but with these panels, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. Overall, it’s very economical in the long run.
Reduced carbon footprint
Since you don’t use electricity or oil and gas to run your heaters or boilers so you end up reducing your carbon footprint with these panels. As such you will be contributing towards saving the ecosystem. That’s not all, commercial and domestic properties which make use of these solar panels will be able to claim something called the renewable heating incentive. In short, this means that you will instead be paid for adequately generating heat energy for your use.
The disadvantages of using solar panels for water heating are:
Only heats water
Know that solar panels can only heat water. So if you are thinking of perhaps converting that stored and accumulated solar energy into electricity and then using it for various other purposes then you won’t be able to do so at all. On the other hand, you will indeed be able to generate electricity using solar PV panels which can then be used to even heat water. As such, there’s much more flexibility when it comes to solar PV.
Corrosion is a very big concern for solar panel owners. In a solar panel that functions on an open hydronic loop, oxygen can very quickly rust up any steel or iron parts. There are plumbing parts that will certainly be more resistant if they are constructed using brass, copper, bronze, rubber, plastic, and such. Another part that can get affected by corrosion is storage tanks. So to prevent them from getting corroded, it should be lined with plastic or glass. Know that once corrosion sets in, it will cost you a pretty sum to either get it out or replace it. Sometimes if the situation is bad then the entire panel might have to be replaced.
Know that even if you are getting free and adequate energy, you will still have to invest in getting the whole panel system checked on an annual basis. After all, there are some parts like the antifreeze and the pump which needs proper checking so that they remain properly functioning and continue to perform optimally. As you might have guessed, this maintenance check will cost you a pretty penny.
More space needed
When you install solar panels, know that you will also have to install a brand new cylinder for hot water. Now to install this cylinder you will need a lot of space in your house. So in turn, if you don’t have a big house, then things can get cramped and people in your house can get hurt by the hot cylinder.
Investing to get a professional
Before you can even begin installing the panels, you will have to get a professional who will come to check your house to see if everything like your roof and such are strong and suitable for holding the panels. You might think that only trees provide shading, but many other factors contribute to it. After all, some things might shade your roof only during some parts of the day. This will, in turn, prevent your panels from performing to their optimal capacity.
So all the above will have to get checked by a professional so that you can begin reaping the reward of your costly investment. But know that this professional is going to cost you right at the beginning. Also, if there’s an unnecessary shade which can impede the sun’s strong rays then that is going on have to be removed and you might have imagined, that will cost too.
How to maximize the efficiency of solar panels?
If you can combine solar panels along with solar PV panels if your roof allows for it, then you can harness the electricity, which gets generated by the PV panels to improve upon the solar heating as required. It can be used to increase the hot water temperature as well. This combination is very efficient and it will satisfy many of your household needs as well.
Along with the above reason, there is always the concern that the panel won’t function if there is a cloudy sky. As such, if you are thinking of installing solar panels, then make sure that you consider both the pros and cons as well as the condition and space of your house before installing the panels. Don’t take a decision hurriedly as it can pump up your costs and waste a lot of time on your part.