Solar Hot Water Heater
Which Solar Powered Water Heaters are Best?
Homeowners in several countries have been using solar hot water heater technology to heat their water since the 1900s, and are still using it today to save money and heat water efficiently using the sun's energy. Learn more about the history of solar water heaters and which types are best for your home!
Solar water heaters are an excellent way for homeowners to go green in their home, save money, and enjoy hot water throughout the year.
How Do Solar Water Heaters Work?
The basic concept or premise behind a solar water heater is that water is passed through a collector that is heated primarily by the sun, producing hot water for your home. The two main components of solar heater systems are the collector and the storage tank. There are two ways the water is pumped into your home: via an active system or a passive system.
Solar storage tanks have either a single tank or dual tanks. The single tank systems combine the solar storage and the back-up heater into one component. Dual tank systems work by preheating the water in the solar heater and then passing it along to the conventional water heater inside the home.
Types of Solar Hot Water Heaters
- ICS or Integral Collector System - also called a batch heater or batch system and a favorite design of do-it-yourself homeowners. The tank is enclosed inside a box that is insulated and has a glazed top. The solar collector, or tank, heats the water as it passes through.
The heated water is then pumped to the conventional water heater inside the home. This type of solar water heater is efficient in mild climates where temperatures don't go much below freezing due to the outdoor piping required for this design. Price: $1,000 - $2,000 plus cost of installation and parts for a system producing 30 gallons of hot water.
- Flat Plate Collector - the basic design is an insulated metal box containing a series of tubes that move and heat the water. The box is covered with glazed cover and an absorber plate that is a dark color to attract the sun's rays. The fluid inside the tubes heats up as it circulates through the box and then is transferred into the home.
This type of solar water heater is very popular for residential applications and is most efficient for climates that enjoy more sunny days than overcast ones. A flat plate collector can be used in warm or cold climates if the sun is shining most days. Price: $2,000 - $4,00 for residential usage producing 40-80 gallons per day.
- Evacuated-tube Solar Collectors - this solar collector consists of several rows of clear tubes attached individually to a larger pipe called a header pipe. Inside each clear tube is a piece of metal called a fin. The fin, covered with a special radiating coating, heats the fluid coming through the pipe.
The evacuated-tube collector is ideal for climates with primarily cloudy weather conditions. They're utilized more often for commercial applications, but are also used for residential applications. Price: $900 - $5,000
History of Solar Water Heaters
- 1896 - first batch solar water heater created by Clarence Kemp, a U.S. citizen
- 1920s - flat plate solar water collectors used in CA and FL
- 1950 - An Israeli named Levi Yissar built the very first Israeli water heater powered by solar
- 1953 - NerYah, the first Israeli solar water heating manufacturing company was established
- 1960s - introduction of solar water heating to countries like Austria, the Mediterranean, Japan, and Columbia via a solar water heater design by a man named Paolo Lugari
- 1973 - U.S. increased use of solar water heating following the oil crisis
- 1980 - Israeli government passed a law that required all newly constructed homes outfitted with solar water heaters
- 2005 - Spain passed a law requiring all new buildings utilize photovoltaic electricity to generate power
- 2006 - Spain was the 2nd country to require solar hot water heater installations in all new constructed homes
- 2007 - Australia offers state and national incentives for homeowners opting for solar energy
Solar hot water heaters are an excellent investment for homeowners who want to generate hot water using the sun's energy and are interested in reducing their environmental footprint while saving money. Wouldn't it be wonderful to know you can still enjoy all the comforts of hot water in your home without waiting for a potentially high energy bill each month?