Solar collectors collect energy from the sun, which is transferred to water and then stored in hot water storage cylinders. The transfer of heat to the water can be directly or indirectly through a water and glycol solution. The indirect systems are normally used where temperatures drop below zero degrees Celsius at night.
There are two methods of getting the hot water from the solar collector to the storage tank:
Thermo Siphoning System
Heated water transfers from the collector to the tank through convection. The storage tanks are always installed higher than the solar collectors to allow natural convection.
A controller and pump are used to transfer the heated water from the solar collector to the storage tank. The tank is normally located lower than the solar collectors and thermo siphoning can therefore not take place.
There are two types of solar collectors that are most commonly used:
Selective black-blue coatings are used on the collector surfaces of the solar collectors to optimize energy absorption.
Recent increases in electricity cost have brought the payback period of solar water heating systems down to approximately 4.5 - 8 years depending on the type of solar water heating system and hot water usage.
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