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This project is super simple and uses readily available materials, its the kind of things that could easily be scaled up to meet lots of hot water needs.
If the power goes out this could produce hot water for showers and even heat a small room. This is a great way to have a cheap tankless water heater system.
How does Solar Thermal work?
Solar thermal heating systems use solar collectors to capture energy to heat water. There are many designs, however they all make use of the same working principle. A singular liquid in the panels heats up and is pumped through a coil in the hot water heating supply. Another approach is to circulate the water to be heated through the actual solar THERMAL panels.
Solar thermal technologies utilise the heat from the sun to off set the water heating demand of a building. In general, the solar collector absorbs heat from the sun and transfers it to a working fluid (water of refrigerant), which is transferred to the water in a hot water tank either directly or via a secondary heat exchanger.
Solar thermal is a pre-heat system, due to the intermittency and seasonal dependency of the solar resource, additional heating requirement are supplied by a conventional heating source via a secondary heat exchanger.