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Solar Hot Water System Inspection
Solar water heaters are a cost-effective way to heat water in almost any climate.Water heated in this manner can be used for myriad home, business and industrial applications.
Solar Thermal Worldwide
While solar thermal systems have only recently become popular in the United States, they have been in use since as early as the 1890s. Israel began pioneering work in the 1950s in response to fuel shortages and, today, solar water heating is exploited by 85% of that country's population. In this way, Israel saves an astonishing 2 million barrels of oil per year – 3% of their total energy consumption – making it the highest user, per capita, of solar energy of any form worldwide.
Passive Solar Water Heaters are designed as self-contained units that act
as a solar collector and storage tank integrated into one piece of equipment. In most cases, they are utilized as a pre-heater to a conventional water heater; however, they can be installed as direct solar water heaters. The unit can also be used as a pre-heater for a terminal or instantaneous water heater
Unlike photovoltaic solar panels, solar water heaters generate no electricity; rather, they directly heat water through sunlight. These systems are generally composed of solar thermal collectors, a water storage tank, interconnecting pipes, and a fluid to move the heat from the collector to the tank.
Solar thermal collectors are fastened to a roof or a wall that faces the sun, heating fluid that can be pumped (in an active system), or driven by convection (in a passive system). Collectors are made from a glass-topped insulated box with a flat solar absorber made of sheet metal attached to copper pipes, and then painted black, or a set of metal tubes surrounded by an evacuated (near-vacuum) glass cylinder. Solar water heating systems are usually supplemented by conventional backup systems for cloudy days and times of increased demand.
There are three types of solar thermal systems used for residential applications:
flat-plate collector. These are weatherproofed boxes that contain a dark absorber plate beneath one (or more) glass or plastic cover. Solar pool heating systems use unglazed flat-plate collectors, which lack a cover or enclosure.
integral collector-storage or batch systems. These feature black tanks or tubes in an insulated, glazed box. Cold water first passes through the solar collector, which warms the water before it is sent to a conventional backup water heater, which then fully heats the water. Batch systems should be installed only in milder climates because the exterior pipes can freeze in cold weather; and
evacuated-tube solar collectors. These systems feature rows of parallel, transparent glass tubes, each containing a glass outer tube and metal absorber tube attached to a fin. The fin's coating absorbs solar energy but prevents radiative heat loss. While occasionally used in residences, this design is more common in commercial applications.