Successful Solar Water Heating Experiment in India
A recent report in a scientific journal described a successful solar water heating experiment carried out in India. As I described on the page solar water heating, solar hot water heaters were very common in the US during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Cheap electricity and fossil fuels lead to their fall from popularity. Now higher fuel prices and environmental concerns have led to a new enthusiasm for solar energy. So hot water heaters in particular seemed poised for a comeback
The study reported in the International Journal of Global Energy Issues is particularly interesting because it looked at a real-world installation of a 1000-liter system at a university hospital.
The authors analyzed both the engineering and economic aspects of the hot water system. The conclusions were quite positive.
The solar system used at the hostel was a direct thermal system similar in principle to those popular decades ago. It proved to be a very practical and economically viable answer to the problem.
The payback time of the installation was only two years. That is, the money saved from not having to buy electricity or oil to heat the water paid for the installation within two years.
Since the estimated life of the system is at least 20 years, it's expected to pay for itself more than five times over.
Clearly, the system is a success from an economic viewpoint. Perhaps even more importantly than saving money however is the fact that the system has a carbon footprint of essentially zero. This is a win-win for both the environment and the budget of the university.
Let's hope we see more and more such large-scale applications of solar and other alternative energies in the near future.
Here's the Journal reference if you like to see the whole article yourself:
. Solar water cost and feasibility of solar water heating system. International Journal of Global Energy Issues, 2009, 31, 208-218
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