Thursday, May 31, 2012

Solar hot water system...bit of boosting!

Late last year we installed an evacuated tube solar hot water system. I have found the system we installed awesome to date!

Site-specific features of our system include:
  • having the system mounted on a north-facing rack. This ensures the system works to its maximum potential, particularly during the winter months.
  • a booster when the system doesn't achieve adequate heat through the roof mounted system. For our system we chose to have a mains electricity booster.
  • having my booster attached to an overnight tariff. 

The last couple of weeks have brought me some awareness to weather conditions that will challenge the solar component of my system. In the last two weeks we have had overcast weather, with occasional showers. In addition to this inclement weather, we are now entering winter where the sun is positioned further in the north in the sky during the day. All of these factors contribute to lower efficiency in all solar systems, when compared to these systems' performance during prime summer sun positions and certainly has resulted in some diminished performance of my system.

As a result of this cooler, wetter and gloomier weather the water tank that stores my hot water did not maintain a temperature much over 23 degrees. As a result, morning showers were a little cooler than one would consider comfortable and a little shorter than usual (good though for the water level in our rain water tank). But thanks to the boosting system, we flicked the switch and by the time we woke up the next morning we were back to a stable hot water tank temperature of 65 degrees.   

This one night of boosting was adequate and the next day I turned the booster off and the roof mounted tubes managed to kick into doing their job for the rest of the week due to some sunny weather.  Pin It


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