Solar Water Heating

Solar water heating turns sunlight into a cost-effective way to generate hot water for residential buildings.

Solar installation on a Colorado home. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Solar water heating systems collect the thermal energy of the sun and use it to heat water in homes and businesses. The systems can be installed in any climate to reduce utility bills and are composed of three main parts: the solar collector, insulated piping, and a hot water storage tank.

Both solar water heating systems and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems involve collector panels, however, they are different technologies. Solar water heating systems use radiation from the sun to generate heat for water, whereas PV systems produce electricity.

Solar water heating systems can either rely on electric pumps to circulate water (active) or rely on thermodynamics (passive). Active solar water heating systems are more common in residential and commercial use. Passive solar water heating systems are typically less expensive, but they are also less efficient.

Additional Resources

For more information about solar water heating, visit the following resources from the U.S. Department of Energy:

Solar Water Heaters

Water Heating