Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: NE & Windwards
Thanked 196 Times in 187 Posts
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Re: Solar heating element for water heater
Would note my House has solar hot water and solar for electricity. The solar hot water just runs our domestic hot water through a black panel which is sufficient to bring it up to 110f even on 20 degree short winter days. On cloudy or rainy days it at least boosts the tank temp up so less outside power is needed. We also sell power back to the grid year round so if you have enough panels short winter days arenít the issue itís made out to be.
I note this to point out solar hot water is much more efficient when the sun directly heats the water rather than making electricity then heating an element.
I would further note in the tropics we get equal power from wind as solar given the trades and short winter days. Summer in New England is 90% solar only 10% wind.
If his goal is hot water then get a panel for that purpose. We have 2 fairly large ones on our roof but I think they make smaller ones. Ours are very low tech and flexible. Easy to mount. Only control is thermostats to turn onor off that loop.
If his goal is a heat sink get a heat sink. If his goal is to not waste electricity put it a second abet smaller house bank and charge that.