The use of solar energy to heat water, for showering or taking a bath, is a simple and effective way to save energy and money. In Ireland an average household will save about 50% of the annual cost of providing hot water.
By using the correct system a business, like a B&B or a small hotel, where a greater amount of hot water is used, can make even larger savings.
There are a variety of different collectors and system types available but all operate on basically the same principle. When the sun is shining, water is pumped through the solar collector and is heated by solar energy. This heated water then flows through a heat exchanger, warming the stored water in the hot water cylinder.
In the summer the water in the cylinder can reach a temperature of 80 deg C within a few hours, and the insulation on the cylinder will keep the water warm for later use.