Join Date: May 2007
Location: Glen Cove, NY
Thanked 202 Times in 194 Posts
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Re: Solar heating element for water heater
A couple of thoughts.
A thermal solar panel is the more efficient way to heat water, at least compared to solar electric. One problem is you would need to run hoses between the water tank and the panel. Probably a difficult retrofit.
Another option no one has mentioned is a heat pump. That means using a refrigeration unit to do the heating rather than a resistance coil. Think of rejecting the heat from your refrigerator to the hot water tank rather than the air or the sea.
All this complexity is only of use if you are not running your engine, so at anchor etc. If you are motoring for any period, the water tank is already hot. Not sure it's worth the effort.
S/V First Tracks
1985 Cal 33-2