Solar energy is now a term used often to describe solar photovoltaic panels, which can be used to produce electricity through sunlight. However the electricity generated is quite minimal. A much more efficient and practical use is to produce hot water.
The great thing about solar energy is, its practically endless, and there is almost always some solar energy, which can be captured even in mild and overcast weather conditions. This energy can then be used to make electricity or to produce hot water.
Solar water heaters are exactly what they sound like, instead of capturing solar energy to produce electricity they capture the energy into water, which rises in temperature. This water can then be used for washing, or to provide a source of heating for a building.
Solar water heaters are actually a lot more efficient at capturing solar energy than photovoltaic solar panels. Using the same foot print much more solar energy can be captured to heat water for washing and heating, and some solar water heaters are very cheap to produce.
One of the most popular and most reliable designs of solar water heater is the passive water heater. The passive water heater works on a basic design, using components, which can be sourced cheaply and even made by you at home with only basic DIY skills.
So what components are used to make a solar water heater? Well firstly, a tank is required to hold the water to be heated. The size of the tank can vary, and its size should reflect your heating requires whether its for washing, heating your home or business or even heating your swimming pool. The tank is then placed within a solar reflector box, essential a small greenhouse to capture at much solar energy as possible. The box is also insulated to keep as much energy in there as possible.