Compact solar water heater
connects with tap water piping directly. Water is feed automatically by the water pressure. The vacuum tubes absorb the sun energy and transfer the heat to the tank via the copper heat pipe and the water temperature of tank is gradually heated.
Residential solar thermal installations fall into two groups: passive (sometimes called "compact") and active (sometimes called "pumped") systems. Both typically include an auxiliary energy source (electric heating element or connection to a gas or fuel oil central heating system) that is activated when the water in the tank falls below a minimum temperature setting such as 55°C. Hence, hot water is always available. The combination of solar water heating and using the back-up heat from a wood stove chimney to heat water can enable a hot water system to work all year round in cooler climates, without the supplemental heat requirement of a solar water heating system being met with fossil fuels or electricity.
When a solar water heater
and hot-water central heating system are used in conjunction, solar heat will either be concentrated in a pre-heating tank that feeds into the tank heated by the central heating, or the solar heat exchanger will replace the lower heating element and the upper element will remain in place to provide for any heating that solar cannot provide. However, the primary need for central heating is at night and in winter when solar gain is lower. Therefore, solar water heating for washing and bathing is often a better application than central heating because supply and demand are better matched. In many climates, a solar hot water system can provide up to 85% of domestic hot water energy. This can include domestic non-electric concentrating solar thermal systems. In many northern European countries, combined hot water and space heating systems (solar combisystems) are used to provide 15 to 25% of home heating energy.
A special type of passive system is the Integrated Collector Storage (ICS or Batch Heater) where the tank acts as both storage and solar collector. Batch heaters are basically thin rectilinear tanks with glass in front of it generally in or on house wall or roof. They are seldom pressurised and usually depend on gravity flow to deliver their water. They are simple, efficient and less costly than plate and tube collectors but are only suitable in moderate climates with good sunshine.
A step up from the ICS is the Convection Heat Storage unit (CHS or thermosiphon). These are often plate type or evacuated tube collectors with built-in insulated tanks. The unit uses convection (movement of hot water upward) to move the water from collector to tank. Neither pumps nor electricity are used to enforce circulation. It is more efficient than an ICS as the collector heats a small(er) amount of water that constantly rises back to the tank. It can be used in areas with less sunshine than the ICS. An CHS also known as a compact system or monobloc has a tank for the heated water and a solar collector mounted on the same chassis. Typically these systems will function by natural convection or heat pipes to transfer the heat energy from the collector to the tank.