Solar Pensacola
Panama City Beach Solar Residential

 How does Solar Water Heating work?

Cold water is moved via a pump from a water tank and travels through solar collectors in a solar panel. In the process, it is heated up by the power of the sun hitting the solar collectors. This heat is then carried away from the solar collectors by the water returning to a heated storage tank.  An auxiliary system will kick in when more hot water is needed. Auxiliary systems run on conventional energy, such as gas or electricity. A controller component regulates the pumping action of the water.


Typically, up to 30% of a home’s energy consumption is used just to heat water for bathing, laundry, and cleaning.  By installing a solar hot water system, homeowners can reduce the amount of their electric bill, thereby saving money and reducing pollution at the same time.  Installing a solar hot water system is typically the first and most cost-effective step when turning to the sun for energy.  Even if a photovoltaic system is your primary interest, a solar (thermal) hot water system along with a PV system will provide the best economics and space efficiency on your roof.


  • Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors.
  • There are two types of solar water heating systems:  active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t.
  • Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank.  Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector.
  • In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heat.  In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank.

Water heating is a major energy consumer.   Although the energy consumed daily is often less than for air conditioning or heating, it is required year round, making it a good application of solar energy.  The installation of a solar water heater is not only cost effective with rebates and tax credits, but eliminates a good portion of your monthly electricity bill.

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