Once a technology that just sat on the roof and was used to harness energy from the sun to heat water, has now become a trendy tool and is being used by people all across the globe. Solar energy is gaining extreme popularity as the world is hunting for renewable and sustainable energy sources. Solar energy or residential sunlight can be used to generate electricity that can be used to cool and heat, light building, provide hot water, etc.
According to researches, it has been found that around 35% to 40% of household energy consumption account for heating water for varied needs. However, this consumption can be largely reduced by the use of solar heaters. Solar water heaters can be installed in all locations irrespective of the climate factor. These heaters are available in an array of configuration. Each type differs in design, performance, cost and complexity.
However, most of the systems are supported by a backup heating system such as gas or electricity. Solar heater systems comprise of solar panels that have sensitive light cells for absorption of powerful sun rays and conversion into heat, hot water storage tank, pump and controls. The most remarkable benefit of solar heaters besides conservation of energy is that it does not emit any sort of poisonous gases such as carbon dioxide unlike the electric geyser heating system that besides consuming a lot of electricity also produces a lot of pollution.
Generally, there are two kinds of systems, forced circulation and passive. The passive system comprises of a water tank which is integrated or located above the water collector. In the integrated storage system, the water is heated and collected inside the tank. As a result, these systems are only suitable for warm climates where there is no risk of freezing. In the passive system, the storage tank is separate from the collector tank. As the water in the collector tank becomes warm, the water flows from the collector to the storage tank by way of natural convection. In the forced circulation system, a pump is used to move the water from the collector tank to the storage tank. Most of the solar heaters in United States are forced circulation type.
Solar heaters are not very expensive in price and prove to be highly cost effective in the long run as the users are allowed to make significant savings on their electrical consumption.