With Kyoto Protocol, climate conferences and environmental reforms hitting front page headlines in North America and Europe, consumers are turning towards eco-friendly products only to be followed by manufactures as demand increases. Utilization of solar energy is now becoming a norm and it saves natural resources because sunshine, unlike oil and gas, doesn’t seem to deplete with its usage. And the concept is now also applied to water heaters, bringing solar powered ones into the market. Let’s see how these solar powered heaters work and what different types exist.
Active solar water heaters are available in two different types: direct circulation systems and indirect circulation systems. Direct circulation systems heat water inside a storage tank and the circulating pumps move it forward into the house. But these systems aren’t successful in areas where water gets frozen often. Indirect circulation systems were introduced to solve this problem; these include a heat exchanger filled with a non-freezing fluid. Energy from the sun is used to warm this liquid and that liquid in turn heats up the water for your house.
Passive water heaters are low-priced but are less efficient that active heaters. They too come in two types: the integral collector storage (ICS) system and the thermosyphon system. Like direct circulation active systems, ICS systems work well in warmer climates where water freezing is not an issue. ‘Thermosyphon systems’ work differently; they are made to function in all temps. When the temp. hits the freezing point, water is brought to a regular water heater. Thermosyphons are generally more reliable than ICS systems but also come with a higher price.
Heating systems aside, solar collectors come in a few common types: flat-plate, ICS and evacuated-tube solar collectors. ‘Flat-plate collectors’ are made of dark absorbing plates within a tiny insulated area that keeps the plates safe from all outside events. Sometimes, they come without these insulated containers when they are needed for outdoor usage like heating a swimming pool.
‘ICS collectors’ often have one or multiple tanks within an insulated material and have a heat absorbing outside, so that both this and the tank can be inside one box. Water gets warmed as it passes through these tanks and is brought to a regular water heater before being brought through the home. These are feasible only in places where outer pipelines don’t get frozen during winters. While readymade ICS heater-collector systems are available in markets, several people build their own because they are rather simple to create.
Finally, the evacuated-tube solar collectors consist of translucent glass pipes that run parallel to each other. A meta-absorbing piping system connects to a fin in a manner such that heat absorbed from the sun is kept inside for a long duration.
Having read all the details about the various types of solar water heaters and collectors, now you can choose one that suits your needs perfectly.
Scott Rodgers is a master plumber who has recently begun writing articles for both a plumbing and non-plumbing audience. To view more of plumbing articles, visit eLocalPlumbers.com
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
I took a 3 day tour of several solar panel factories in China. I visited a town called Qingdao, China, where I saw how solar panels are manufactured. This video has Robb explaining how the solar thermal panels, or also called solar evacuated tube panels, are manufactured.
Cat Solar and Apollo Solar, as seen in this video, has many types of solar thermal and solar evacuated tube panels that are manufactured for China and the rest of the world. These panels are used to heat hot water for homes and businesses. Prices range from $300 per unit to over $3,000 per unit.
Sorry about the wind, it was a very windy day in Qingdao, China that day.
This book is one of my favorite solar books in my library (bought it on Amazon) and I can recommend many of the solar books on Amazon to help learn more about solar energy:
This Grape 100 Watt Solar panel on Amazon is very similar to the panel that was bought at Home Depot: