Solar Power

Solar Heating Panels – 3 Popular Types and Their Benefits

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 heating panels.

It is an established fact that thermal solar heating 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.

This article will look at 3 popular methods af applying these systems in household environments.

The first of these 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.

Another 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 grip, 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 these panel systems 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.

Neels Theron is a regular contributor on homemade solar power. Visit for a great introduction to solar power, detailed plans for building your own solar panels, a guide showing how to fix the solar panels to your roof professionally, electrical wiring plans and a solar calculator to show you how many panels you will need.