All About Solar Panels And Solar Water Heating Systems


The sun rises every day, and a homeowner can benefit from the process. The principal options for solar energy systems are solar panels and solar water heating systems, which generate electricity and heat water, respectively. One study (Scarpa and Willis 2010) discovered that people were prepared to spend an extra GBP2,380/USD3,602/EUR3,225 on a house where solar panels were present.

British houses rank among the least energy-efficient in Europe

British houses are among Europe’s least energy-efficient. In 2003, it was found that almost a quarter of a British house’s energy was used to heat water, which was over twice the average of the continent. Solar water heating systems comprise a storage tank linked to solar collectors and maybe mains electricity. It is believed that this could decrease electricity bills by an average of between 50 and 80 percent.

Solar water heaters are compulsory in certain US states as well as over 50 Spanish towns, while nine tenths of Israeli homes have them, a trend that began when there was a fuel crisis in the middle of the last century. In fact even commercial enterprises are investing in solar for their businesses. For example in New Jersey, USA, companies like NJ Solar Power are reporting an increase in demand for commercial solar NJ services and solutions.

The United Kingdom may well follow this. While it’s possible to install solar panels yourself, a contractor certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme must install solar water heating.

You can sell electricity

Under the Renewable Heat Incentive of the British government, it’s possible to sell the electricity generated by solar panels to a utility company to earn around GBP400/USD605/EUR542 a year, however installation of such a system costs GBP12,500/USD18,918/EUR16,938. The typical solar water heating system costs rather less, with the typical 2kW arrangement being from GBP4,000/USD6,054/EUR5,420 to GBP5,500/USD8,324/EUR7,453. The environment would be thankful for either.

How much hot water do you need?

How much hot water can be supplied by solar water heaters is dependent on how large is the tank. A tank containing a minimum of 96 gallons would be required by a family four-strong.

The space taken up by solar panels is no problem when they sit upon roofs. Solar water heaters appear more intrusive.

What kind of system?

Active solar water heaters use electric pumps, controllers and valves to distribute water and are sometimes more efficient than passive systems. Fluid will have to be changed every couple of years.

Solar panels, on the other hand, have no moving parts and so require no maintenance and last for up to three decades, while solar water heaters generally endure for as much as 20 years.

If active systems are powered by mains electricity, they won’t function if there’s a power outage.

It all depends on the weather

Depending upon the sun for energy might not work in places that are often cloudy or have temperatures are freezing. If it’s extremely cold, pipes can freeze and panels can be cloaked by snow.

The optimal situation is to have a roof that faces south.

The bulk of your need for hot water can be met by solar panels between April and September and they at least increase the temperature of water in other seasons.

About the Author Timothy Chilman

Timothy Chilman used to work in IT. Once, in Sydney, he was turned down for a job because he was “too flamboyant” (“Someone who wears green tartan suspenders to a job interview probably isn’t going to fit in here”). Timothy then became an English teacher. University students in Bangkok complained that he was “too enthusiastic” and company students in Prague complained that he was “too theatrical.”

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