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Solar water heaters

Solar water heaters

Old Oct 28th 2009, 10:52 am
  #1  
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Default Solar water heaters

Anyone have them? I am going to an expo tomorrow but would love anyones opinion on them and how well thay function in winter. I realise that they work from U.V. rays and not just direct sunlight but of course it is no good having boiling hot water in summer and tepid in winter. Lol.
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Old Oct 28th 2009, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Originally Posted by CBANDY
Anyone have them? I am going to an expo tomorrow but would love anyones opinion on them and how well thay function in winter. I realise that they work from U.V. rays and not just direct sunlight but of course it is no good having boiling hot water in summer and tepid in winter. Lol.
We have had them for around 4 years and usually they work very well in the winter, obviously if its a week of rain then you will need an alternative supply but on the whole very pleased with them.
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Old Oct 28th 2009, 2:01 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Yep, 3 panels on the roof + a 1000 liter tank, hot water in summer and winter and central heating (backed up by gas).
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Old Oct 28th 2009, 8:26 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Originally Posted by Jur
Yep, 3 panels on the roof + a 1000 liter tank, hot water in summer and winter and central heating (backed up by gas).
I'm pretty sure someone's mentioned there being an earlier thread about this, but since this is now, I've got to ask. Approximate installation cost (if you did it yourself, well done but an idea would be good! Temperature of the water 365? quantity? Size of panels? btw this isn't cynical or snide, it's cos it's something we always talk about and never get around to
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Old Oct 30th 2009, 11:01 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Originally Posted by fionamw
I'm pretty sure someone's mentioned there being an earlier thread about this, but since this is now, I've got to ask. Approximate installation cost (if you did it yourself, well done but an idea would be good! Temperature of the water 365? quantity? Size of panels? btw this isn't cynical or snide, it's cos it's something we always talk about and never get around to
Yes I would be interested in this information also - if anybody is willing to share
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Old Oct 31st 2009, 10:32 am
  #6  
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

I can´t give an exact pricing on our system, I´m also not sure if it´s any use to anyone here as most parts (Panels, 10 radiators, tank ) came from Germany and we´ve installed/built it ourselves. The panels we got fairly cheap as they´ve been used for a showroom. The solar panels are about 2.20 by 1.20 meters and produce enough energy to have hot water all year round. But in the winter we go through about 1 1/2 - 2 gasbottles a week to keep the house warm...... and we´ve got a woodburner as well. So it´s still costing us about 100 - 120 € a month in heating costs. (but our electricity bill stays the same)
The system roughly has cost us about 14.000 € but I don´t think it´s relevant, there surely are other options.
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Old Nov 2nd 2009, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Originally Posted by Jur
I can´t give an exact pricing on our system, I´m also not sure if it´s any use to anyone here as most parts (Panels, 10 radiators, tank ) came from Germany and we´ve installed/built it ourselves. The panels we got fairly cheap as they´ve been used for a showroom. The solar panels are about 2.20 by 1.20 meters and produce enough energy to have hot water all year round. But in the winter we go through about 1 1/2 - 2 gasbottles a week to keep the house warm...... and we´ve got a woodburner as well. So it´s still costing us about 100 - 120 € a month in heating costs. (but our electricity bill stays the same)
The system roughly has cost us about 14.000 € but I don´t think it´s relevant, there surely are other options.
Thanks, you're right that parts acquired from second hand or showroom sources aren't easily priced, but thanks anyway - and anyone looking to install solar heating/power is likely to be looking at the 'second hand' sources so you're not alone!
I reckon any/all info on this will be useful for someone who's planning a system.
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Old Nov 3rd 2009, 3:51 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

14,000 euros? Wow, that is one heck of a budget. I have been looking at a lot of alternatives, to be honest, most of which involve me doing it myself. There is no way that I could afford anything quite like that, plus the payback time would be quite impressive. Even at a grand a year saved, that's 15 years before you turn a profit, more if you had to borrow to achieve it.

A couple of hot water tanks on the roof, and some copper pipe should do the biz quite nicely, bearing in mind that you would need to learn a little about parabolic troughs, and how to make them. Clue, - look at catenary curves, which are easier to construct and can focus heat very well.

You could make a catenary trough quite easily if you can do a bit of glass fibre work. I'm thinking of making mine using a stiff cement mix, very dry, and compacting it, then using a cutout plywood curve to create an inverted mould. (like a length of gutter upside down.) It would have ridges either side to provide a seating groove for glass strips, and so on.

The only skills you need would be soldering and glass fibring, both of which are no-brainers and easily learnt on the job.

The MASSIVE advantage of this system is that it is completely modular. You need to make a certain level of purchase to begin with, ie a tank, the basic pipework, a pressure relief valve and enough fibreglass and pipe to make one catenary trough (remember the pipe in the trough needs to be in one piece, with no solder joints where the sun is focussed.). I doubt that that would exceed 500 euros by much. You fit the catenaries so that there is an easy connect stub of pipe at top and bottom, and when you want to add more, drain the system, cut the soldered caps off the stubs and solder on a couple more. As many tanks as you like can be connected to boost storage, and the system can be adapted to have catenaries to collect sunlight in the am and the pm.

Do a bit of research and understand how the collectors need to be below the storage tanks, insulate the tanks well, and I reckon that you could create a brilliant system for a comparatively small investment.

If each catenary is 1/3 metre wide and three long, then you are picking up a sq metre's worth of power which can be up to a kilowatt, if the figures are right, less obviously in real life, especially in winter. Still, all each catenary would cost you is a sq metre of glass, a sq metre of fibreglass, and a three metre length of 22 mm pipe. Even in winter, because the sunlight is focussed, it gets pretty hot in those tubes.

Anyway, that's just a couple of thoughts on the subject.
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Old Nov 3rd 2009, 5:38 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Originally Posted by bil
14,000 euros? Wow, that is one heck of a budget. I have been looking at a lot of alternatives, to be honest, most of which involve me doing it myself. There is no way that I could afford anything quite like that, plus the payback time would be quite impressive. Even at a grand a year saved, that's 15 years before you turn a profit, more if you had to borrow to achieve it.

A couple of hot water tanks on the roof, and some copper pipe should do the biz quite nicely, bearing in mind that you would need to learn a little about parabolic troughs, and how to make them. Clue, - look at catenary curves, which are easier to construct and can focus heat very well.

You could make a catenary trough quite easily if you can do a bit of glass fibre work. I'm thinking of making mine using a stiff cement mix, very dry, and compacting it, then using a cutout plywood curve to create an inverted mould. (like a length of gutter upside down.) It would have ridges either side to provide a seating groove for glass strips, and so on.

The only skills you need would be soldering and glass fibring, both of which are no-brainers and easily learnt on the job.

The MASSIVE advantage of this system is that it is completely modular. You need to make a certain level of purchase to begin with, ie a tank, the basic pipework, a pressure relief valve and enough fibreglass and pipe to make one catenary trough (remember the pipe in the trough needs to be in one piece, with no solder joints where the sun is focussed.). I doubt that that would exceed 500 euros by much. You fit the catenaries so that there is an easy connect stub of pipe at top and bottom, and when you want to add more, drain the system, cut the soldered caps off the stubs and solder on a couple more. As many tanks as you like can be connected to boost storage, and the system can be adapted to have catenaries to collect sunlight in the am and the pm.

Do a bit of research and understand how the collectors need to be below the storage tanks, insulate the tanks well, and I reckon that you could create a brilliant system for a comparatively small investment.

If each catenary is 1/3 metre wide and three long, then you are picking up a sq metre's worth of power which can be up to a kilowatt, if the figures are right, less obviously in real life, especially in winter. Still, all each catenary would cost you is a sq metre of glass, a sq metre of fibreglass, and a three metre length of 22 mm pipe. Even in winter, because the sunlight is focussed, it gets pretty hot in those tubes.

Anyway, that's just a couple of thoughts on the subject.
Well that's one to file away for future reference. Don't understand much of the technical stuff but get the general gist!
btw, a friend who's into doing his own thing if and when possible, reckons that black garden hose or water pipe or whatever, coiled or S-snaked around either a S-facing bank or within a barrel, or whatever, if placed below the pool, and utilising gravity & hot water rising, might be a mega cheapo way of topping up the heat in the pool water. Any thoughts?
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Old Nov 3rd 2009, 5:57 pm
  #10  
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

That will pick up some heat, but it will be limited to the same rules. If the hose is 25cm diameter, then to get 1 sq metre, you will need 40 metres of hose and so on.
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Old Dec 1st 2009, 3:01 am
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

The BBC has reported that new research says Solar Panels can last up to 30 years and to be a worthwhile investment for most - and that prices have come down a lot with the recession and higher demand / production.

BBC Article Here

I wish they were more affordable though. It seems crazy in country like Spain that they are literally not installed on every house !

The thing is
a) I don't plan staying 30 years and
b) Will I recoup the cost if I sell the house in a few years
c) It'd have to be done by experts as my DIY skills are crap!
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Old Dec 1st 2009, 4:44 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Originally Posted by GrapeEater
The BBC has reported that new research says Solar Panels can last up to 30 years and to be a worthwhile investment for most - and that prices have come down a lot with the recession and higher demand / production.

BBC Article Here

I wish they were more affordable though. It seems crazy in country like Spain that they are literally not installed on every house !
Do you mean the solar panels on the roof. I was told that it`s mandatory that new houses in Spain got to have this solar panel on the roof.
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Old Dec 1st 2009, 5:33 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Originally Posted by ForHotspot
Do you mean the solar panels on the roof. I was told that it`s mandatory that new houses in Spain got to have this solar panel on the roof.
Not sure !! I think the " mandatory " came in only last year on new-build only... and as not many builders are in business right now - seems solar heating for the masses is a long way off !!
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Old Dec 2nd 2009, 6:13 am
  #14  
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Originally Posted by GrapeEater
Not sure !! I think the " mandatory " came in only last year on new-build only... and as not many builders are in business right now - seems solar heating for the masses is a long way off !!
A lot of the plans were submitted long before the new rules came into force too.
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Old Dec 3rd 2009, 1:34 pm
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Default Re: Solar water heaters

Friend of mine has a solar system which provides water and electricity. It cost him €20,000. Note, he is in the sticks and can't get mains electricity.
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