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Solar Geysers

Our sun emits massive amounts of energy - far more than we could ever use. In South Africa, solar radiation reaches up to 6.5kWh/m2, one of the highest levels in the world. By comparison, parts of Europe only receive about 2.5kWh/m2. So, in this country, solar energy is an abundant source of renewable energy, making it an obvious candidate when seeking alternative sources of energy.

Solar water heating – how it works

Solar water heaters are based on two facts of physics: darkcoloured objects absorb heat, and hot water rises. Unlike other systems that can be very complex, a solar water heater is simple, as water is the only moving part. This is a huge advantage in terms of reliability and maintenance.

A typical system has three major components: a solar collector, a transfer medium and a storage container.

  1. The solar collector absorbs solar radiation and transfers the energy, in the form of heat, to the fluid within it.

  2. This fluid is the transfer medium. In a direct system, the transfer medium is the potable water from the storage container. In an indirect system, the transfer fluid is generally a mix of water and glycol, which passes the energy to the storage container via an isolating heat exchanger. In areas in South Africa where temperatures drop to below freezing (4°C), an indirect system is recommended.

  3. As with a conventional geyser, the hot water storage container is thermally insulated to retain heat. Solar geysers are usually larger than electric geysers and better insulated. This allows you to maximise your solar gains.

Solar water heaters can be linked to existing geysers or can completely replace them. The system can be installed on top of a roof if the structure is strong enough.

The storage container can be placed elsewhere, for example, inside the roof or a cupboard, but the collector must be where sunlight can reach it.

Geysers mounted on or in the roof are usually placed horizontally, but for better thermal stratification, they should be mounted vertically. Your roofing structure must be checked to see whether it can support the weight of the storage container and collector.

Solar collector types

There are two main types: flat-plate collectors and vacuumtube collectors.

  • A flat-plate collector has a transparent cover made of specially toughened glass, a coated metal absorber plate (coating is usually matt black paint), and a well-insulated weatherproof casing. Flat collectors are robust, economical, and versatile.

  • Vacuum-tube collectors consist of a series of glass tubes connected together. The absorber strip in an evacuated tube collector is placed inside the toughened glass tube, which can withstand considerable pressure. The heat transfer fluid flows through the absorber directly in a U-tube or sometimes in a tube-in-tube system. Several tubes are connected to one another or to a manifold that makes up the solar collector. A heat pipe collector contains a special fluid that vaporises at low temperature. The hot vapour rises in the heat pipes and warms the heat transfer medium in the main pipe before condensing and recirculating. The pipes must be at a certain angle to facilitate the process. Too flat or too steep an angle and the system will not work.

    Vacuum tubes work well with low radiation. They can often produce higher temperatures in applications such as hot water heating, steam production and air conditioning.

Articles and resources:

New Solar Plasma Geyser Technology

Solar Geyser FAQ for Home Installations

Green Energy - Build A Cheap Solar Water Heater

Solar Geysers And Heat Pumps

Solar geysers: Are they worth it?

How to Design a Solar Geyser

Solar Heat – The Greatest Source Of Energy

Solar Heating – The Way To Save Money On Electricity Bills

Solar Heat - The Different Types Of Harnessing It's Infinite Power

What Is A Solar Geyser?

DIY Solar Water Heater

Solar Geyser

Solar Water Heaters – The Benefits Of Building A Solar Water Heater

12 Point Checklist to Buy a Solar Geyser

Diy solar Water Heaters 5 Significant Benefits Of Building Your Own Solar Water Heater

Solar Solutions

Working of a Solar Geyser

Massive South African solar park in major renewable energy drive

Build Your Own Solar Geyser for Efficient Solar Water Heating System

What to look out for when installing solar water heating

Hybrid solar system for heat and electricity funded

Solar Heating of Water For Small Households - Free?

Installing A Solar Geyser

Wanting To Make Solar Power? 3 Things To Avoid

American institute of physics illustrates us more cost-effective Selenium PV cells

Solar Geysers and Solar Panels

How Solar Geysers Work

Recommendations On Choosing And Installing a Solar Water Heater

Inverting To Solar Geysers

Go Solar To Light Up Your Home

Eskom Solar Geyser Installation

Solar Geysers, Saving Electricity And Water

Roll-out of solar geysers to start around Plett

Solar heated geyser plan back track

Competing subsides fail to ignite solar geysers

Conventional vs Solar-You decide

Solar power to save money on electricity

How to Utilize Solar Technology

First Solar Geysers by June from New E Cape Plant - Terence Creamer

Poor community in hot water - Duncan Alfreds, News24

Solar Water Geysers – Why you should buy a Solar Water Geyser Now - By Admin

Political will needed if region is to prosper - By Times LIVE

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Why Should We Consider Solar Water Heating? - By Admin

Zuma: Lets Develop Ourselves - By News24

Dont get burned by solar - By David Carte

State to pay power savers - By Troye Lund

Use Solar Power and Future-Proof Your Home - By Lauren Potgieter

US company invests R2,3m into local solar company - By Guy Copans

Types of Homemade Solar Power Systems - By Charlie Conor

Top Sandton hotel turns to solar for its water heating needs - By Christy van der Merwe

Things to Know About a Solar Home Heating System - By Riaz J

The Ease of DIY Solar Water Heating Projects - By Kevin M. Crain

Solar Water Heaters - 5 Significant Benefits of Building Your Own Solar Water Heater - By Max Morgan-Bellinger

Solar Heating Devices and What Are They? - By Ambrose Chalmers

SA solar water heater market set to grow rapidly - By Jacqueline Holman

One of SA’s largest SWH projects rolled out at platinum mine - By Christy van der Merwe

Looking at Alternative Energy - By Riekie Van Aardt

Largest solar heating system in Africa installed at Gaborone Sun Hotel - By Guy Copans

How Does Solar Thermal Work? - By Ray Boreham

Eskom’s new-look solar geyser rebate hinges on tariff approval - By Christy van der Merwe

Eskom hopes to accelerate SWH roll-out as it doubles rebates - By Chanel Pringle

Electricity: switch to solar and save - By Richard van Rensburg

Dummies Guide on Solar Power - By Johann Du Plessis

DIY Solar Hot Water - 4 Vital Steps in Building a Solar Hot Water Heater - By Bill Van Wycke

Canada, Geared Up For Solar Water Heating Devices! - By Robert Deckard

Solar Energy & Water Heating - How to Build Your Own Solar Water Heater & Save Energy

Affordable solar geyser launched in South Africa - By Guy Copans

Geyser Efficiency ? blankets, pipe insulation and timers can result in lower electricity bills - By Lauren Potgieter

Electricity: switch to solar and save - By Richard van Rensburg

Business Watch: Solar geyser sales bubble as Eskom turns on taps - By Peter DeIonno, Florence de Vries, Ingi Salgado and Samantha Enslin-Payne

Sandton hotel gets power from sun - By Francois Williams

Solar heating boom to drive economy - By Francois Williams

Wanted: Chinese Solar Geysers - By Francois Williams

Mad rush for solar geysers as subsidies rise - By Melanie Gosling

Solar Energy & Water Heating - How to Build Your Own Solar Water Heater & Save Energy - By Max Morgan-Bellinger

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