For ages, most electrical appliances, solar water heater included, have used hydro and nuclear power as the sole sources of energy. However, these sources are not affordable to a larger populace owing to their exorbitant cost. This made it necessary for poor masses to embrace use of carbon based fuels for heating water.These fuels have led to accumulation of greenhouse gases whose effects have led to thinning of ozone layer and unpredictable weather patterns (global warming and climate change).
With the above mentioned challenges negatively impacting on the populace and the earthnegatively, the use of solar water heater has come at the most opportune time when the earth is collectively advocating for renewable green energy. The use of solar water heater has come with both benefits as well as challenges as detailed below:
- It is cheap once it has been installed since it guarantees free energy bills.
- It is reliable since it is dependent on the Sun.
- It is environment friendly: non-pollutant as it reduces consumption of carbon fuels hence promotes environmental and natural resource conservation.
- Portable thus can be carried and re-installed in case of relocation though with care.
- Its efficiency is weather dependent hence cannot be used in Polar Regions/regions with low sunlight intensity.
- Due to its portability, it is susceptible to theft/ vandalism.
- It is prone to mechanical breakdown hence maintenance cost is mandatory.
Components of a solar system
It advisable to know various parts the complete solar water heaters system before acquiring one.
- Solar collectors – this converts sun rays into heat energy. It is dark/black panel in color.
- Heat transfer fluid – transfers heat from collectors to storage. The fluid can be mobile/ flowing water in warm regions while in cold region, an at-freeze fluid is used.
- Heat exchange – it transfers heat from the fluid into the domestic home water supply.
- Storage tanks – keeps hot water before it is used.
- Pumps – regulates the flow of transfer fluid between the collector panel and storage tank.
A diagrammatic representation of complete water heating system
Factors to consider when buying a good solar panel
- Cost – since, they come in different sizes and capacities,, you need to choose a solar water heater whose price plus the installation is within your budget. Besides these, cost of tank and pipes need to be factored in.
- Size and capacity– this is dictated by the amount of hot water required on a daily basis. Number of people in a house and number of bathrooms are the greatest determinants. For domestic purposes, 100 liters solar water heater is sufficient while for commercial purposes (hotel, hospital and schools), solar water heater of capacity above 500 are realistic.
- Climate –regions with sufficient sunlight prefer flat panel collectors while cold regions should use evacuated tube collectors. These two types have different life spans hence care must be taken during their installation, especially the glass made evacuated tube collector.The flat panel collector is metallic hence has comparatively longer life span.
- Brand –a good number of established brands are relatively costly; they are a good bet due to availability of their spare parts in case of breakdowns, experienced staff in case of repair and long and reliable warranty on their products.
- Water source – hard and soft water are treated differently in solar panels due difference in mineral content. Hard water has minerals which form scale thus can cause blockage in pipes hence indirect heating is preferred. Soft water is safer and is heated directly in the panel.
Solarwater heater innumerable benefits have made it the safest, most reliable and affordable means of heating water both domestically and commercially for the masses. Since its challenges are not hazardous, it is poised to be the next sole source of hot globally.
For more, visit https://www.solarwaterheaterkenya.com