Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional off the grid electricity that is metered by companies. More and more households are installing solar energy systems these days and businesses are beginning to follow suit. What you may not know is that solar energy doesn't only have to be used to produce electricity – it can also be used for heating water for a variety of purposes as well.
The process of using solar energy to heat water begins with a receptacle to store the water, which is generally located on the roof in an area that receives the most direct sunlight. It will usually be an insulated box with a lot of copper piping affixed to it. The copper piping acts as a conductor for the heat and is responsible for delivering the heated water throughout the home.
For residential consumption, there are two types of systems - passive and active. Passive systems mean the water flows through it via gravity while active systems use a pump. Both kinds of systems are connected to another heating source which will kick in to warm the water once it falls below a certain temperature so that you are never without hot water. Solar water heating in this method is best suited for bathing and doing laundry and other small tasks that don't require a lot of water like a thermal heating system would.
Solar energy can also be used to heat water for swimming pools during the cooler months. There are a couple of different ways this is achieved. First, there are solar heated coverings that can be put across the pool which draw in the sun's rays to heat the water. There are also floating plastic discs that work much the same way. The other way solar heating is used to heat pool water is by a collector system mounted on the roof of the home and a pipe process laid into the pool. The water is heated inside the collector and piped through the filter of the pool, which circulates the heated water into the pool.
The cost of either system will vary, depending on where you live and which installer you choose. Generally any installation company that is able to put a solar energy system for electricity into a home can also do a solar heating system for the water as well. However, you don't always have to have a professional installation done when it comes to using solar energy for heating water in your home. There are many do-it-yourself kits that are readily available and quite easy to put together. These kits are exponentially cheaper than the commercial grade ones and can be efficient enough for a variety of sizes of homes.
It's best to do your research to see whether installing a solar water heating system is a project you can accomplish on your own. Consulting a qualified installer to find out what your home's specific needs and requirements are would be the best way to ensure you get a system that is capable of performing at the capacity you require.
Alan is a solar energy consultant and he is passionate about energy. He has been working with AGL Solar Energy company in Australia for 4 years and provide consultation for Solar system installations for residential use. AGL has been a trusted energy company for 175 years. AGL is one of Australia’s leading renewable energy companies. Their commitment to renewable energy means they know solar PV and solar hot water and how to source cost-effective solar solutions for their customers.