There is no complicated technology involved in the solar water heater. It is as simple as keeping a bucket of water in the sun to get heated. Solar water heaters are very effective where there is plenty of sun throughout the year. The solar water heater has a collector and a tank, which are the main parts of the heating system.
Flat plate collector is used most commonly. This collector consists of a thin box with a small diameter tube running through it in a zig-zag pattern. You can see these collectors on rooftops with a tank alongside. The water travelling through this tube gets heated up and flows down to a storage tank. To prevent the heat from escaping from this tank, it is insulated. Solar water heaters come in two models. One is the active type, and the other is the passive type. The active type has a pump that drives the hot water into the home, and the passive type uses the force of gravity to provide hot water to the house.
When you are installing a solar water heater, there are few things that you should keep in mind. First, find out the geographical location of your home relative to the sun. The flat plate of the solar hot water system should be facing the sun most of the day. Generally, the south facing roof of your home will be appropriate.
Before you decide on the solar water heater system calculate the amount of hot water that will be required for all the members of your family. Calculate the cost of installing such a system as against the cost benefit that you will be deriving out of it in terms of cutting down on your energy bills. It has been found that typically about 50 to 80 percent drop in energy bills has been achieved with the use of solar water heaters.
Since the heat of the sun will not be available the year round, you need to have a backup fuel system to take over when the sun is not there. You have to choose between natural gas and electric, or oil fired. Calculate which one will be the most cost efficient one. Unless you are located in an area where the sun is available all the year round, you cannot switch over completely to the solar water heaters. You got to have a backup system.
Since the upfront cost of a solar water heating system is rather high, you can take advantage of the incentive the government is offering. The government is ready to bear 30 percent of the cost of the solar powered water heating system. You can use this incentive to offset some of the cost of installing a solar water heating system.