The energy is gathered using solar panels. Solar radiation is a renewable source of energy, it is non-polluting on the environment and it is free.
Solar heating may not be enough to meet all of your hot water needs depending on the strength of the sun on any given day. It is standard to have backup energy for dull days so that you will not run out of hot water.
At present approximately 1.6% of New Zealand home owners have solar water heating, this number is growing every year as then benefits of a solar water heating systems are being realised.
Solar water heating is not appropriate for all houses. You house, primarily the roof, must meet a number or criteria to be suitable for solar water heating panels on the roof. You must have a roof that is facing north in order to receive the sun's rays, and your property/area mush have relatively good all year round sun. Your roof must also be large enough for the solar panels to provide hot water to all of the house occupants. There is no set size, but it is recommended that you allow one square meter per person. The roof also needs to be able to support the weight of the solar panels. It is also beneficial if the solar panels are located close to the hot water tank inside the house.
New Zealand has great conditions for solar water heating. With approximately 2000 bright sunshine hours that New Zealand receives every year, solar water heating can meet between 50 and 75 percent of your hot water needs.
The hot water tank is another factor to consider if you are thinking about solar water heating for you new or existing home. If you are designing a house, you will simply install the specially designed hot water tank for solar heating. It is important that you choose the correct size water tank to match the usage. Requirements will be larger than an electric system, generally you should allow up to 100L per person.
If you are adding solar water heating onto an existing home you have two options. The first option is to buy a new hot water tank, especially designed for solar power. The other option is to modify your existing tank so that it is suitable for solar energy. You should only do this if you hot water tank is large enough to match usage.
It is recommended that you consider installing the specially designed tank rather than converting an existing tank.
If you are thinking about solar water heating for your new home, or adding it to an existing home, give Laser Plumbing a call on 0800 438 527 or find your local plumber and they will help you determine if solar water heating is right for you and your home.