Solar Hot Water Basics
Heating up water from the sun is not a new concept. It has actually been happening for hundreds of years. What has changed over the past century is how people have begun to incorporate solar panels into this process to speed up the results. Since there is infinite energy coming from the sun each day, there is always going to be a great opportunity to make use of its energy. Solar hot water heating systems are affordable, efficient, and last a very long time.
The active components of a solar hot water heater are mainly the solar panels also known as “solar collectors”, a storage tank, and some pipes which connect everthing together. When the sunlight hits the solar panels, it creates heat. Next, as the working fluid runs through the pipes that are located near the solar panels, there is a heat transfer which ends up heating the working fluid to hot temperatures. This fluid ends up moving back towards the water tank and creates another heat transfer when it arrives. This is where the water in the tank becomes hot. Solar hot water heating is really a simple process, but one which can stop the need to use gas or standard utility company electricity for water heating needs. And, solar hot water heaters are excellent to be used for pools as well. They have the ability to keep swimming pools warm during the winter months at a very low costs compared to conventional heating methods.
Payback Period for Solar Hot Water Systems:
The expected payback from a solar water heater in the United States really depends on the cost of electricity in your local area and the expected amount of sunlight.
For example, in California where the electricity costs roughly $0.20/kwh, and there is about 5.5 average sunlight hours per day, this system would pay for itself in less than 8 years based on an initial cost of $3,000 for the hot water system.
For example, in Texas where the electricity costs roughly $0.15/kwh, and there is about 5 average sunlight hours per day, this system would pay for itself in less than 10 years based on an initial cost of $3,000 for the hot water system.
In Florida where the electricity costs roughly $0.18/kwh, and there is about 5.8 average sunlight hours per day, this system would pay for itself in less than 8 1/2 years based on an initial cost of $3,000 for the hot water system.
The variables you want to research when you are considering the purchase of a solar hot water heater are sunlight, electricity or gas costs associated with water heating, current local or state level rebates or incentives, and the actual system costs.