Solar Water Heating
What is Solar Water Heating?
Our country enjoys an average of 2 500 hours of sunlight each year, and in fact, the whole of Africa has sunshine all year round. This allows plenty of opportunities to harvest this powerful energy to reduce the power demands on our grappling energy infrastructure.
Solar water heating can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home or business. We have a variety of configurations available at varying costs to provide solutions in different climates and latitudes. Below, we’ll describe the two types of thermal collectors available: the traditional flat plate collector and the modern evacuated tube thermal collector. These collector systems are best positioned facing north – away from the shading of trees and nearby buildings.
Evacuated tube collector
Evacuated tube systems and flat plate systems work similarly, although the evacuated tube collector (ETC) is a more recent development. The main difference between these two systems is that ETCs use individual rounded tubes which are perpendicular to the sun’s rays for most of the day.
This allows it to operate at much higher efficiency and temperature for a more extended period than the standard single flat plate collector system. As a result, ETCs have gained popularity over their conventional counterparts, primarily due to their reduced supply costs and their high performance and reliability in cold climates and commercial applications. They are also more attractive than the more common flat plate collectors.
Flat Plate Collector
A flat plate collector is a heat exchanger that converts radiant solar energy from the sun into heat energy. The solar loop’s heat transfers fluid (usually a water and glycol mixture) to the flat plate collector. This fluid passes through the inside of the collector, where it captures solar energy and uses that energy to heat water in the home or business.
For most residential and small commercial hot water applications, the flat plate collector tends to be more cost-effective due to its simple design and relatively more straightforward installation than other water heating systems. These collectors are also more than capable of delivering the necessary quantity of hot water at the required temperature.