User’s handbook on Solar Water Heaters

30 Sep 2010


The handbook seeks to provide organized information to users about the different technologies and equipment available, and the costs involved in installing solar water heaters.

Solar thermal technologies hold significant promise for India with high solar insolation of 4 6.5 kWh/ sq.m /day for an average of 280 sunny days. Solar water heating system is a commercially viable and technologically mature product which has existed in the country for many years. Yet, against a technical potential of 45 million sq. km. of collector area only a little over 2.5 million sq. km of collector area has been installed. This works out to a little more than 2 sq.m./1000 people as against countries like Israel and Cyprus, which have over 500 sq.m./1000 people.

In order to transform the solar water heating market in India, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has joined hands with UNDP/UNEP/GEF Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation Strengthening Initiative. Under this project, India aims to achieve 10 million sq meter additional collector area by 2012. In absence of any intervention, the market was projected to add 3 million sq meters during this period. International Copper Promotion Council (India) is also a partner to this project in India.

The climate of India varies from extremes to moderate due to its large geographic size and varied topography. The climatic conditions in the northern hills are quite different than that of southern parts of India and in planes also, extreme climatic conditions are common. Use of hot water is common for residential applications in cooler regions of the country. In urban and semi urban areas also, the hot water use is becoming a part of the life style. In all these areas water is normally heated up with electricity which is expensive and is not available for 24 X 7. Therefore, solar water heating system can be a suitable alternative to meet the growing hot water demand requirement in the country without exerting further demand pressure on electricity generation capacity in the country. However, in quite a number of cases solar water heaters had failed to earn appreciation of the users due to suboptimal design, inferior product quality, mismatch of technology with environment and water quality and bad installation practices.

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