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Domestic Solar Water Heating Essay

1792 words - 8 pages

What is Solar Energy
Solar energy is the energy of the sun falling onto earth. The amount of energy received from the sun is much greater than the amount of energy that can be consumed by people. The sun is located 148 million kilometres away from the sun, however it produces more energy in four hours that the entire human race does in one year. This energy gives life to this planet and without it; humans, animals, plants etc. would not be able to survive. Generations have used glass and other materials and structures to capture and magnify the sun’s energy and these systems have gradually evolved to form the basis of mature techniques that are used today to harness solar ...view middle of the document...

During the winter, the solar system will be preheating the water and during the summer months, it will provide up to 80% - 100% of the hot water needed for this system. There is a widely held opinion that Ireland does not have enough 'sun' to make solar systems worthwhile. In fact parts of Ireland have enough annual solar radiation levels equal to 60% of those experienced at the equator and the as much solar energy as central Europe [5].
Top countries in the world for solar energy water heating
Solar power remains, after hydro and wind, the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity. In 2012, more than 100 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) power was installed in the world — an amount capable of producing at least 110 TWh of electricity every year [6]. 
The table below is based on data from EPIA`s annual Global Market Outlook
Ranking Country Installed PV [MW]
1 Germany 32411
2 Italy 16361
3 China 8300
4 USA 7777
5 Japan 6914
6 Spain 5166
7 France 4003
8 Belgium 2650
9 Australia 2650
10 Czech Republic 2072
[6] Figure 1 Highest Ranking of Solar use in the World
The reason for the above countries having such a high solar photovoltaic power is because these countries are situated in such a region that there is a more constant supply of sunlight that other countries. Germany is the highest ranking country of using solar power because it is so big and it has a yearly sum of 1500-2000 kWh/m² (figure 2). Compared to a country like Iceland, Australia has five times as much power generated because Iceland is situated in a cold region whereas Australia is in one of the warmest regions of the world.

[6] Figure 2 yearly sun of the world

History of Products
The first solar water heaters dated back to the nineteenth century and consisted of tanks filled with water and painted lack. This was very inefficient as even on very clear hot days; it would take from morning to the early afternoon for the water to get hot. Also, a big draw back on this method was that when the evening came around, the water would lose its heat very quickly as it had no protection from the night air [7].
In 1891, Clarence Kemp designed the world’s first ever commercial solar water heater called the “Climax”. He patented a way to combine the old practice of exposing metal tanks to the sun with the scientific principle of the hot box, therefore increasing the tanks capability to collect and retain solar heat [7

[8] Figure 3 Advertisement of the first commercial solar water heater
William J. Bailey patented the solar water heater in 1909 that changed solar water heater business for good. This design was relatively affordable, reliable and a lot more efficient than the first solar water heater invented in the nineteenth century. It worked by separating the solar heater into two parts, the heating element which was exposed to the sun and an insulated tank which was placed in the house so that people could have hot water day and night. Bailey reduced...

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