Solar water is an important step to reduce energy usage for homes and companies. Imagine not having to pay your oil or power bill because you can get free heat from the sun. Many people are familiar with flat panels, but due to the inefficiencies, they cannot heat a large home or company.
The SolarBeam can replace 10-15 large flat panels because it tracks the sun and can create more solar water. For example, it takes two SolarTron SolarBeams to handle the equivalent task of 35 flat panels.
This is based on heating 1700 L of water to 90 C in the city of Murcia, Spain. For those that do not know about solar water, the article will explain the benefits and cost savings by using the free heat from the sun.
What is Solar Water?
Solar water heating systems use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water. A conventional boiler or immersion heater can be used to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.
The benefits of solar water
• Hot water throughout the year: the system works all year round, though you’ll need to heat the water further with a boiler or immersion heater during the winter months.
• Cut your bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced.
• Cut your carbon footprint: solar hot water is a green, renewable heating system and can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.
How do solar water heating systems work?
Solar water heating systems be flat panels installed on the roof or a parabolic system, like the SolarBeam. These collect heat from the sun and use it to heat up water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. A boiler or immersion heater can be used as a back up to heat the water further to reach the temperature you want.
There are two types of solar water heating panels:
• Flat panels or evacuated tubes that are installed on the roof
• SolarBeam Concentrator, which is a parabolic solar water system that tracks the sun and can be installed on the groudn
Maintenance costs for solar water heating systems are generally very low. The SolarBeam solar water heating system comes with a r ten-year warranty and require little maintenance. Once fitted your installer should leave written details of any maintenance checks that you can carry out from time to time, ensuring everything is working properly.
Perhaps the most important thing you can check for yourself from time to time is whether there are any leaks. If there are any leaks of anti-freeze (even if you can’t see any liquid) this will have a strong smell. If you notice this you should contact your installer. In general you should keep an eye on your system to check that it is doing what it has been designed to do. If you are not getting hot water or the solar pipework is cold (when the pump is running) on warm, sunny days then again you should contact your installer. For peace of mind some installation companies offer an annual service check.
You should have your system checked more thoroughly by an accredited installer every 3-7 years, or as specified by your installer. It is likely that after this period of time the anti-freeze that is used to protect your system in the winter months will need to topped up or be replaced as it breaks down over time reducing the performance of your system.
Anti-freeze lasts better if the solar water system is used throughout the year and not left unused during the warmest weeks of the year. This cost of replacing the anti-freezer is usually around £100.
The other thing that your installer should check is the pump. In a well maintained system, pumps can last for ten years plus and usually cost around £90 to replace.
Solar water heating systems can achieve savings on your energy bills. The savings are based on the amount of sunshine and the amount of hot water you will use. Average savings are $2500 per year. Typical carbon savings are around 230kgCO2/year when replacing gas and 510kgCO2/year when replacing electric immersion heating.
You may be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from a solar water heating system through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive. This scheme should be launched in Summer 2013.
From August 2011, you may be able to get help with the installation costs of a new solar water heating system through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme.
Is solar water heating right for your home?
You’ll need around 30 square metres of land space which faces east to west through south and receives direct sunlight for the main part of the day. Since the SolarBeam can be installed on the ground, you do not need to worry about installing a solar water system on your roof, which could ruin the aesthetics.