Though solar panels are more efficient during sunny weathers, the modern ones can be used even during winter and cloudy days. They are becoming popular nowadays due to high demand for green energy, with high potential for future heating applications. The reliability and efficiency of a solar heating system design is determined by several factors, which a home owner needs to consider prior to installation.
1. Intended Application
Solar heating system can be used in various applications including domestic water heating and air conditioning. Whichever your purposes, you need to choose a system that will suit your needs. With so many designs available in the market, you can ask installers (experts) to assist while buying your system.
2. Exposure to Sunlight
For your solar heating system design to work efficiently, you need adequate shade-free space; either on a roof or on the ground surface. The collectors should be south-facing, experiencing adequate sunlight exposure from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm throughout the year. However, the collectors will also perform well if they are positioned 30 degrees east or west of the true south.
3. The source of Backup Energy
This depends on the temperature required, and if the solar heating system design is insufficient to heat water up to the required temperature. For electricity, you can choose heat pump or tankless water heater, while for natural gas or propane, you can opt for either tankless or traditional tank type. There are several backup heating sources, but an installer can help you make an ideal choice of what suits you.
4. Type of Solar Loop System
Solar collectors are one of the functional parts of any solar heating system design, and they are suitable for different climatic conditions. If you live in a warm climate, direct system can be your choice because it circulates water through the collectors directly. For climates that experience freezing temperatures, pressurized and drainback systems can work very well since they utilize antifreeze solution that ensures constant heating regardless of extreme low temperatures.
5. Solar Storage Required
As much as solar energy is free of charge, it doesn’t stay available throughout. Sometimes weather changes and you may lack sufficient hot water for your domestic use. A good solar heating system design should have an adequate storage tank because water is a good medium storage for solar energy. An installer can help you determine the suitable size of your storage tank based on a given geographical location. However, the tank should not be too big, because the collectors might not be able to supply enough temperature for the entire volume of water.
6. Amount of Hot Water (load) Required
Before installing a solar heating system design, you need to first calculate the typical amount of hot water required for the entire family. Basically, every individual can use average of 20 gallons per day. However, an ideal calculation can be derived from the amount of energy consumption on monthly basis.
7. Type of the Collector
Collectors are of three types; evacuated tube, glazed, and non-glazed flat plate and each works best for a particular climate. Evacuated tubes are universal, and work best for higher temperature heating applications in both cloudy and cold climates. Flat plates are best suitable for domestic water heating, pool heating, and space heating throughout the year. Unglazed collectors can be used in warmer climates, as well as for occasional pool heating in cooler climates.
8. How Often the System is Used
This is basically when and how the hot water is being used, either seasonally or throughout the year. A solar heating system design should be suitable for all your needs, and this is determined by the type of solar loop type, types of collectors, and the size of the storage tank.
9. Space for The Entire System
A solar heating system design should be able to fit in a designated room within your building. Most space is required for the storage tank, but this depends on the size of the tank itself. Don’t forget the system will require pumps and controls, but these can be mounted on a wall. So, they don’t take up much space, but ensure there is room to allow easy servicing when needed.
Cost is one of the crucial things to consider, since it determines the choice of your solar heating system. As much as you want to achieve your goals, you also need to take into account the overall cost. Installation costs may vary from state to state, but you can get estimates from reliable solar contractors to determine the total cost. Also, you can make use of state government utility or incentives programs in order to acquire a smart solar heating system design you need.