• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Carla Burke
  • thomas rubino

Combining solar panels and passive water heating?

 
pollinator
Posts: 518
Location: Andalucía, Spain
61
trees rabbit books chicken bee greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We had planned to put our solar panels (electric) on the roof of our house, but was told that an old house like ours it wouldn't be a good idea. So we decided to put them on a roof in front of the water tanks - to provide shade for the tanks and create a workshop underneath. But a friend told us that they get awfully hot on the back, so putting them in from of cold-water tanks might not be a good idea.

So this is where we thought: Why not use this heat to warm up the hot water? Run some tubing on the back and have the water from the hot water tank run through it?

Do you see any problems with this idea?
 
pollinator
Posts: 583
Location: Southwest U.S.
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it can provide some useful water heating. However, it won't allow for temperatures nearly so high as conventional water heaters. So, one would have to store a larger volume of this heated water to put the energy to use... and this means larger tanks. You might circulate the water in the tanks through the tubing set behind the panels (this is probably what you were thinking) using a small pump. I recommend a small pump with a magnetic drive impeller. A model sold under the name "Pondmaster" is available that might interest you. There are also DC magnetic drive pumps available for a low price that are manufactured in China, and designed specifically for solar water heating purposes. You could operate one of these small pumps on a thermostat to heat up the water in the tanks to 100F or so. It seems very reasonable to me, and a very good idea.
 
Dawn Hoff
pollinator
Posts: 518
Location: Andalucía, Spain
61
trees rabbit books chicken bee greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh we don't want to use more electricity - I was thinking we could do it passively?

I was worried that the water wouldn't cool the solar panels sufficiently (compared to air), and they wouldn't perform as efficiently?
 
Marcos Buenijo
pollinator
Posts: 583
Location: Southwest U.S.
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
-

Dawn Hoff wrote:Oh we don't want to use more electricity - I was thinking we could do it passively?

I was worried that the water wouldn't cool the solar panels sufficiently (compared to air), and they wouldn't perform as efficiently?



There are a lot of advantages to using a small pump. It would draw no more than 20 watts and operate only a few hours each day and only while the panels are generating, so there would be no battery losses (assuming an off grid system). Best of all is a pump makes it so much easier to design the system as the alternative would require a thermosiphon. Sure, a thermosiphon can be done, but you would be more restricted on how you place the panels relative to the water storage tanks.

I don't anticipate a problem with excessive panel temperature. However, it's impossible to know without specifics on the design.
 
Dawn Hoff
pollinator
Posts: 518
Location: Andalucía, Spain
61
trees rabbit books chicken bee greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well we haven't decided a design yet, so I would love pointers as to what we definitely shouldn't do. I'll give a pump some thought, but I have an engineering crush on the passive design
 
Marcos Buenijo
pollinator
Posts: 583
Location: Southwest U.S.
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dawn Hoff wrote:Well we haven't decided a design yet, so I would love pointers as to what we definitely shouldn't do. I'll give a pump some thought, but I have an engineering crush on the passive design



I know what you mean, thermosiphon is elegant. Here is a youtube video featuring an interesting solar thermosiphon project. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF5mT8v4n8M

 
I wish to win the lottery. I wish for a lovely piece of pie. And I wish for a tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!