Solar Water Heater Using Solar Vacuum Tubes

What is a Solar Water Heater?

A solar water heater is a system that captures the sun?s thermal energy directly and transfers it to useable heat energy. Unlike PV or Photo Voltaic, a solar water heater does not create electrical energy instead it creates direct heat energy. This is a much more efficient process as there is no conversion. This results in solar water heaters being 80-97% efficient versus PV which is 8-15% efficient. This means that owners will have a much quicker payback of the system



How do they work?

While there are many types of solar water heaters, the kind that is most popular are called closed loop active solar water heaters. These use a evacuated tube collector or a flat plate collector. A heating medium, usually glycol is circulated through the solar collectors which capture the sun?s heat and transfer it to the solar heating fluid. Using a s small pump, this heat energy is moved from the roof top into the house where it is utilized by heating up either the air but most commonly hot water. This is done by circulating the heating fluid through a bottom heat exchanger in a water tank. The heat exchanger transfers the energy from the solar heating fluid to the domestic hot water



How do I size a Solar Water Heater?

Generally a solar water heater is sized based on the number of people in the house. Solar Vacuum Tube collectors come in many sizes but the most popular is a 30 tube collector as this is ideal for supplying the hot water needs of about 4 persons or a typical North America house hold.



Why use Solar Vacuum Tubes?

Solar Vacuum Tubes are largely used in the mid-north USA and Canada. They act very similar to a thermos and they capture 97% of the solar heat energy and because they are in a vacuum, they lose very little heat. This works very well in Northern Climates especially in winter months. Other flat plate collectors will also work but they can lose up to 50% of the heat energy in the winter months.

Discuss It!

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