Hot Water Solar Panels

Hot water solar panels are the main building blocks of solar water heating systems. Hot water solar thermal collectors collect sun radiation and convert the daylight energy into heat utilizing the greenhouse effect. The heat is transferred to water (direct system) or to glycol (indirect system).

The Benefits of Solar Collectors

Solar thermal collectors technology is mature and it is with us more than 50 years. Solar collectors are mass produced and many companies are competing in the marketplace. As a result the price to the consumer is affordable; a typical price for a passive solar water heater that has 1 or 2 solar collectors and a solar hot water tank is $2,000 to $3,000 including installation. The system can cut the family energy bills by 30%. Installing one solar hot water system is equivalent to the pollution reduction that results by removing one family car from the roads. With the aid of energy tax credits the investment can be paid back within 2 to 4 years.

Types of Solar Collectors

The different types of hot water solar panels are covered in my types of solar water heating page. The following are the main types of solar hot water panels:

  1. The one seen mostly has a planar construction. This type is usually called flat plate solar collector. Usually, water flows through the meandered pipes under the glass cover

  2. Flat plate solar collector with glycol replacing the water; used in regions where freezing is a possibility, to prevent damage to the pipes.

  3. The evacuated tube solar collector is the one seen less, it is typical to the northern regions where sun radiation is not so abundant. It consists of circular shaped tubes

Shopping and Installation

The two occasions to buy a hot water solar panel are either as a replacement to an old panel or as part of a complete solar hot water heaters. You can either buy from a solar store or through a solar contractor. If you prefer a DIY job, take into account the weight of the panels and tank and adhere to the manufacturer installation manuals. If you choose a contractor, here is a check list for choosing a contractor and signing an order with the contractor.

  • Get the specifics of how the collectors will be attached to the roof; make sure they are spaced to allow proper rain water drainage.

  • Get a drawing of where the collector(s) will be mounted and get a drawing of the plumbing.

  • Get all the original manufacturers manuals and warranties.

  • Make sure there is a start day and a schedule for the project, and attach the progressive payments to the completion of the project milestones

  • Check the reputation of the contractor

  • Require that the contractor will dispose of all the debris and left over material before he is paid and leave the premises.

  • Verify that the system is up and running, that it actually heats water and that there are no water leaks

  • Require that the contractor will help you to obtain all necessary permits
  • Read more on hot water solar panels and solar hot water heaters

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