Solar hot water systems are almost invariably fitted in the domestic environment, though they are well suited to this environment where a significant part of the decision making process is based on personal preference rather than business cost benefit, surprisingly, they are not yet considered a mainstream energy system for the commercial user.
I say surprisingly, as the demand for hot water in business matches the period during the day when most energy is being generated!
A Domestic Solar Water Heating Installation.
All solar heating occurs during the hours of daylight (of course). The main phase of solar heating occurs from about 09:00 through to 15:00, the precise hours varying depending on the angle of the panels. My panels are oriented SSE so get more of the morning sun.
With a well fitted system, the water cylinder will have reached full heat by midday, at that point the system should shut down to avoid overheating, all additional solar heating will be wasted.
There is of course the option of increasing the size of the water cylinder in relation to the panels, thus providing a larger mass to heat, but then one must consider usage and the optimum balance between size of cylinder and panels for year round use – this is where a well trained installer will be able to advise in individual cases.
Commercial Solar Panels – an ideal installation
Perhaps the best use of a small commercial system would be in a hairdressers?
There is a need for hot water throughout the day with little or no use at night. The cycle of use would allow for the installation of effectively any number of panels up to the area available on the roof. while retaining a relatively small hot water tank, we are not planning on storing energy for a bath in the morning.
All solar heating during the day is used therefore maximising the investment in the panels, money is saved through avoiding investment in a larger hot water cylinder.
Even when the solar system is not able to cope with all heating, the traditional boiler system is working less, it will need to raise the temperature on pre-warmed rather than cold water.
Basically any commercial enterprise that uses hot water throughout the daylight hours is an excellent candidate for a solar hot water system.
In addition there is the potential for excellent PR!
“Have a blue rinse with green hot water”