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Solar Water Heaters

A solar water heating system absorbs solar radiation and converts it to useful heat that produces hot water. The solar collector is the key element. The rest of the system transfers the collected heat to storage and to the load.

How It Works
The specific components are:

  • The solar collector, which absorbs solar radiation when available
  • A thermal reservoir, typically an insulated hot water storage tank, which stores the heat when it is available and supplies it as needed
  • An auxiliary heat source, typically a conventional gas water heater or an electric water heater, which fills demands greater than the solar system can supply
  • The necessary piping, controls, valves, and pumps, which are required to transport heat from the collector to the hot water storage tank and to integrate all the individual elements into a working system

The most common solar water heating system configuration consists of one or more flat plate collectors, a forced circulation water-glycol loop and controls, and an insulated hot water storage tank with a back-up electric resistance heating element that heats the top of the tank.