Solar lighting, solar phone chargers, solar power… these are phrases often uttered today. The sun has enough energy to power the entire planet many times over for many years but we’ve only scratched the surface with our technology. In the past 15 years, the industry has seen a 20 percent increase in use, an indication that we’re slowly but surely moving towards renewable energy. bledisloeenergy.com.au
Being an inexhaustible power source and one of the few sources of completely free energy, there’s much that can be accomplished with advanced technology. For now, solar panels allow us to harness only a small percentage but an amount which is sufficient to cover most of our energy needs.
Heating requirements which consume a lot of power can be balanced by replacing conventional heaters with solar-powered ones. Pool heaters, for example, can drive utility bills very high especially in the middle of winter. By installing solar heaters, you only pay for the cost of the equipment and installation. Maintenance is low and the energy provided is free.
Solar pool heaters comprise of four main components. The pump draws water from the pool and forces it into the filter which travels to a control valve. The valve determines how much water needs to flow into the solar panels. If too much water is allowed in, it won’t heat as fast. Once water is warmed, it flows back out through the other components to enter the pool.
The operation principle is simple but the cut in power use and bills is very high. Pools located in cold regions where heating water requires a lot of power are ideal candidates for this system of heating. The technology can also be used together with conventional heaters to lower the cost of electricity by as much as 60 percent. If solar blankets are also used, efficiency is doubled.
The complexity of installing a solar pool heater is not as high as one would assume though they must be done so by licensed solar pool heater contractors. Above-ground pools can be worked on in under an hour while in-ground pools take about a day. Roof-mounting panels can be done in less than 5 hours after which all crucial plumbing components are connected.
As delicate as solar panels may be, they require surprisingly little maintenance. The usual water chemistry levels and a properly functioning filter and pump will ensure that the system remains near maintenance-free for years. Rarely does damage occur to the tubes of a solar pool heater and if it does, repair is simple. All repair and replacement can only be done by a licensed solar pool heater contractor as professionals who work with gas-based systems won’t be familiar with the technology.
Solar panels don’t function optimally in cloudy weather as direct sunlight is required for maximum efficiency. However, contrary to popular belief, panels do harness energy even under overcast skies so even consumers living in regions that don’t see a lot of sun can utilize them.
Are there any drawbacks to solar pool heaters? If you want a system that allows you to crank up the heat like gas-based heaters, you can’t expect the same. Solar panels are still quite expensive too though they pay for themselves manifold in the long run.
Since the cost of conventional energy is pegged to rise in the near and distant future, switching to solar heaters or at least combing them with conventional heaters will greatly cut expenses.