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Solar Water Heating

Solar Heating Devices absorb the sun's radiation with specially-coated absorbers to heat air or water.  Solar water heaters work well in a commercial environment such as well as in single family homes.


Solar water heating systems work by using panels which absorb the sun's radiation to heat air or water.  This type of heating system often acts as a back up your to your existing heater, in turn reducing your energy costs.

Two examples of commercial industries using Solar Water Heating include


One of the largest solar heating  units is the 1 million gallon pool used for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics -  savings are estimated to be upwards of $12,000 per year in avoided energy costs thanks to the 10,000 square foot solar heating system on this natatorium.


Solar water heating devices are making a difference worldwide.  For instance:

  • Israel is using solar for approximately 6% of its annual residential energy
  • Hawaii has exceptionally high market penetration rates, with more than 15% of homes with a solar heating devices


  1. Restaurants   
  2. Hotels and Resorts
  3. Laundromats
  4. Car washes

Residential uses include:

  1. Domestic hot water preheat
  2. Radiant space heating
  3. Swimming pool heater - the most common use for solar energy in the United States today. Solar pool-heating systems increase an unheated pool's water temperature by 10 degrees.



Key Benefits

bulletReduce energy bills
bulletReduce impact on natural resources
bulletPollution Free


Solar Space Heating


A passive solar space heating system takes advantage of the suns warmth through design features that capture and store the suns warmth.  Large south-facing windows and materials in the floors or walls that absorb warmth during the day and release that warmth at night when it is needed most are two great examples. Your costs will vary depending on the system you choose.

bulletDirect gain (the simplest system) stores and slowly releases heat energy collected from the sun shining directly into the building and warming materials such as tile or concrete.
bulletIndirect gain (similar to direct gain) uses materials that hold, store, and release heat; the material is located between the sun and living space (typically the wall).
bulletIsolated gain collects solar energy remote from the location of the primary living area. For example, a sunroom attached to a house collects warmer air that flows naturally to the rest of the house.



An active solar space-heating systems uses collectors to collect and absorb solar radiation in unison with electric fans or pumps which transfer and distribute the solar heat.  in most cases active systems have an energy-storage system to provide heat when the sun is not shining.


For more information on the basics of Solar heating read Solar Heating and You published by the EERE




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