Although solar photovoltaic panels for heating household water are probably the most well known and sought after, there are a number of systems making use of solar hot water panels.
It is an established fact that thermal solar hot water panels can effectively heat up to 100% of household water under optimum conditions during the summer, and save on average up to 50% of annual energy costs for hot water.
The first of these solar heating panels is sometimes called the flat plate collector. This system uses plates exposed to the sun which contain sealed liquid-filled pipes. The liquid heats up and circulates via the pipes through the household water tank, which heats up the water. The effectiveness of this system depends to a great extent on the amount of thermal loss of the pipes while circulating the heated liquid towards the water tank.
The second solar hot water panel system works on the same basis as the flat plate collector, with the main difference being that the heat collector pipes are vacuum sealed. This minimizes heat loss to a great extent, even during cold weather.
This system also uses round collectors which have better exposure to sunlight during the course of the day.
The third system using solar heating panels is the popular solar photovoltaic panel system, which works on the basis of silicone cells converting sunlight - or just daylight if the sun is obscured - into electricity.
These solar electric panels can then be integrated into the household grid, or even used on a stand alone basis. Where it is connected to a battery system, energy storage is achieved, making for a very versatile solar energy system.
The solar photovoltaic panel system can be used to power household appliances, on top of generating power for the water heating system.
What has made photovoltaic solar heating panels even more popular - apart from how effectively they work - is the fact that they can be home built by just about anyone, even with no practical experience, saving a great deal in overall investment costs.