The world around us is plagued by increasing pollution and over energy consumption, so it makes perfect sense to find a cleaner and better resource. Solar energy has been determined to be one of the most abundant and cleanest energy resources available to man today. Many environmentalists have been proactive in promoting the use of solar energy due to the growing concerns with global warming.
One simple step toward a cleaner tomorrow can begin in your own home, by converting to a solar-based water heater. There are many visible benefits to investing in solar systems and little deficits other than the cost to replace an existing system.
The benefits of Solar Water Heating:
The first obvious reason would be cost effectiveness. Electric and gas heaters use a considerable amount of energy to simply keep the availability of hot water. With the cost of fuel reaching near benchmark rates, it is becoming almost necessary to find more abundant and economical resources. Most of us have already begun to buy more efficient lighting, and a few have even turned to timers or more energy efficient appliances, but other than outdoor lighting solar is still an untapped medium.
How does it work?
There are several different systems available since there are both commercial and industrial water heaters. They all utilize basic components like a solar collector, which converts solar energy into a useable resource. Secondary, almost all solar systems require a form of delivery such as a heat exchanger or pump module, which is used to transfer the heated liquid from the collectors to the water. The last obvious element would be the actual storage tank, which is used to store the solar heated water for your home or business.
Since there are several systems I will only detail the most common type used today. A typical system uses flat plate solar panels that are installed either on a rooftop or another location with access to southerly exposure to sunlight. Inside there are several evacuated tube collectors that are connected to a simple but effective tube delivery system. The fluid used in the evacuated tubes is either glycol or water, and after becoming heated by the collectors it is pushed in a circulatory system to the water heater that is typically in the basement.
Each time hot or cold water is used, water transfers from the bottom of the main supply tank. Most of the solar heated water at the top of the tank flows into the conventional water heater and then to the taps. If and only when the water has not reached the desired temperature, such as during extended cloudy periods does the conventional water heater need to be used to heat the stored water. In most cases the collectors has maintained the desired temperature and the conventional water heater is unused saving you considerable energy costs.
There are two main categories for solar water heaters, one would be the year-round system which operate regardless of the season; the second would be a seasonal system that is typically used in the spring to fall months.
Yes, there is a cost to implement a full year-round system, but if you are planning to live in your home for more than five years, the system will undoubtedly pay for itself, especially in a larger business or family where hot water is frequently used.
Whether or not cost or the environmental impact that influences your decision, switching to solar is both a cost effective and environmentally friendly choice. As far as longevity, there is no evidence that projects the sun dieing any time soon, and the average solar system typically can last for many years with almost no maintenance. You may not be able to buy a new car with the savings, but you will have a significant drop in energy cost, and you will be making a great contribution to the environment.