Solar water heaters are the most pocket-friendly, efficient, and sustainable source of heating water for the household, commercial, and industrial needs. These heaters source their energy from sunlight gathered from solar panels while fulfilling the demand of high volumes of hot water.
This blog explores the information about harnessing the benefits of solar energy that reduces the electricity bills when you convert electric hot water to a solar, components of a solar hot water system, and a step-by-step guide of setting up the solar water heater, FAQs, etc.

How to convert an electric hot water heater to solar main
Does Solar Hot Water Systems Work in Cold Climate?

Components Of A Solar Hot Water System

Solar Thermal Collector: Solar thermal collectors (flat-plate and evacuated tube) are the big black panels that are installed on the rooftop, capture and retain heat from the Sun and use it to heat a liquid. These solar collectors work most effectively at the places that have an unblocked view of the Sun.

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  • Hot Water Tank: A hot water tank is used to store the heat collected from the solar thermal collectors.
  • Pump: Electric pumps are used to keep the water flowing between the collector and the tank.
  • Heat Exchanger: A heat exchanger is a medium through which the heat is transferred from the collector to the hot water tank.
  • Control system: A control system is used to monitor and operate the solar thermal heater in different conditions.

DIY Solar Water Heating System: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you are looking for a budget friendly solar water heater, you can make use of your electric water heater by converting it into a solar water heater. However, configuring it into your home water system can be a little daunting task, but don’t worry, below is a step-by-step guide that will help you throughout the process of making a DIY solar water heating system

  • Check for a second spout on the top of your water heater. If it is there, it will be new input line for the hot water. If it is not, you will have to purchase a water heater conversion component and attach it to the cold-waterinput line at the bottom of the water heater.
  • Next step is to physically install the solar water heater on your roof at a place where there is no obstruction for the Sun light. In the market, there are a number of options available for solar water heaters, so choosing the one which turns out best for your needs is very important.
  • Flat plate collectors are the most popular type of the water heater which can easily be adjusted to any climate. Batch water heaters are the least complicated one, however, they are not ideal for cold climate. Lastly, if you want to install the solar heater for multi-storey buildings or for industrial needs, evacuated-tube collectors are the best choice as they most effective but also expensive ones.
How to convert an electric hot water heater to solar main
Does a solar water heater work on a cloudy/rainy day?
  • In this step, the solar heater is connected to the water heater which is done by rerouting the cold-water supply through a pump, to the input on the low side of the solar heater. And afterward, connect the hot water output from the top of the solar heater to the new input on the water heater.
  • The pump must use a differential controller which will set off the pump based on the temperature fluctuations.
  • Next step involves the installation of the pressure and temperature release valves on the top of the solar heater and at the output line of water heater. The output from the old heater will remain the same spout.
  • The last step is only for the ones who lives in a freezing temperature area. In this, you must fill the solar heater with anti-freezing fluid and connect it to a heat exchanger. In this case, you will need to route the water supply through the heat exchanger, not the solar heater. And, the rest of the system will continue to be the same.

Does Solar Hot Water Systems Work in Cold Climate?

Yes, a solar water system works effectively in cold climate too. Efficient insulation in the solar water heater make it works well even in cold climate regions. The absorber coating and the vacuumed space between the layers of glass in the solar evacuated tubes are the two primary attributes that allows the solar heat system to be effective in cool temperatures.
The solar water heater uses the radiator fluid technology in which the radiator fluid or a liquid catalyst gets warm by Sunlight, and afterwards, it is pumped into the heat exchange tank. As the name suggests, the function of the heat exchange tank is to exchange the heat of the fluid with the water, and thus water gets warm in the storage tank.
However, to make sure the proper heating of water in cold season, you should keep a check on the radiator fluid prior the season starts.

How to convert an electric hot water heater to solar main
Does a solar water heater work on a cloudy/rainy day?

Solar Panels for Generating Electric Heat

PV solar panels are a fantastic way of generating the electric heat that a house demands on daily basis. They are generally installed on a rooftop, as they make the best space to capture and retain as much sun as possible, and utilize the sunlight to power any electrical appliance such as water heater, microwave, refrigerator, etc in a house.
This electricity is free to produce and help providing a clean environment as no carbon is radiated during the production process, unlike electricity produced by a typical electricity provider.
The initial setup cost of PV solar panels is high but they are low maintenance and can even use up to 50 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Solar Panels Does It Take To Run A Hot Water Heater?

Assuming that the solar panel works on the most recent technology, one solar panel is enough to run a hot water heater.

How Much Litres Of Hot Water Will Be Generated From Solar Water Heating System?

Solar water heating system’s capacities are characterized in litres per day (LPD) which implies that on an average, a 100 LPD system would be able to heat up100 litres of water at 60C on a given day.

Does A Solar Water Heater Work On A Cloudy/Rainy Day?

Yes. The tank is adequately insulated to provide hot water for 1-2 days. In any case, during long periods of cloud cover or rain, some light use of your backup system might be required to fulfil the water demands.

What are the disadvantages of solar hot water?

  • Solar heaters require adequate rooftop space to accommodate and direct sunlight to function properly.
  • The initial installation cost for solar-powered water heaters is quite high in comparison to traditional electric water heaters.
  • The efficiency of solar heaters can vary in different climate such as rainy, foggy, or cloudy days.
  • The function of solar water heaters is limited to just heating the water. It can’t provide power to other electronic appliances.
  • Yearly maintenance is needed to check the antifreeze and pump.

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