The use of solar as an alternative and cheaper source of energy is gaining momentum in Kenya. To make the right decision on purchasing and installation, it is important to understand some vital aspects of a solar water heating system. This article contains important information on solar heaters that is useful for anyone considering purchasing one.
Kenya is blessed with abundant sunshine. This has made solar a highly viable source of alternative renewable energy. Solar heating is gaining more and more popularity as the majority of Kenyans seek to lower their electricity bills. It is one of the strategies Kenya is using to achieve energy efficiency.
Water heating is the most common use of solar energy globally. They are used for domestic, industrial, and commercial purposes. A water heating system comprises a storage tank, connecting pipes, and a solar collector. The system is usually installed on the roof of a building where the solar collector is efficiently exposed to the sun.
Types of solar water heating systems
There are two main types of the systems found in Kenya based on the type of solar collector. Collectors are the parts used to absorb solar energy. The two types are the evacuated tube solar collectors and the flat plate solar collectors. To decide between the two, you need to understand their differences.
The first difference is that, although flat panels are easier to install, evacuated heaters are lighter in weight making assembling much easier. Secondly, in terms of the active absorber unit, evacuated tubes are more energy-efficient than flat plate systems. Thirdly, flat plate systems have larger solar absorber areas than evacuated tube systems.
Fourthly, evacuated tube collectors are more efficient than flat plate systems when it comes to the absorption of solar energy. The last difference is that flat plate systems are cheaper than evacuated tube systems. The maintenance cost of evacuated systems, however, tends to be lower since you do not need to replace the whole collector in case of damages.
Reduction of electricity costs
A solar heater can make significant savings in a Kenyan home’s electricity consumption costs. Despite the assumption of many Kenyans, you save more when you use a larger storage tank as opposed to a smaller one.
The cost of installing a solar heater depends on the size of the system. The factors that determine what size an average Kenyan chooses is the number of people living in the house and the size of the house itself. Water heaters come in three main capacities. These are 150 litres, 200 litres and 300 litres capacities.
Solar heater prices in Kenya range from about 80,000 to 257,000 Kenyan shillings, depending on the brand and the supplier. The distance from the supplier may also incur an additional cost for shipping.
Benefits of water solar heating systems
Aside from providing hot water for industrial, commercial and domestic uses, the solar water heater has the following benefits:
They are fuel-saving. They can replace electric heaters. They also reduce the amount of gas, charcoal, firewood and other fuels used for heating water. Kenyans can then stay longer before needing to replenish these fuels. An insulated water storage tank can allow the water to remain hot overnight, saving energy even at night.
They possess environmental benefits. The usage of solar can reduce tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in a year. This can significantly reduce global warming and climate change.
Heating water is very essential for industrial, commercial and domestic processes. The process requires a lot of energy which leads to high electricity and fuel costs. To cut down on these costs Kenyans are shifting to solar heaters. To make the right purchase, it is important to understand the vital aspects of solar water heaters.