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Solar boiler conversion to electric heating - advice needed

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  • Solar boiler conversion to electric heating - advice needed

    Hello I want to convert my solar boiler to be both solar heater and electric heater. I wonder how it is done and is it somthing you would recommend? Or I should simply install a new electric boiler in my bathroom for cold days. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    If the solar equipment is servicabale and still fit for purpose, easiest way is to keep what you have, make sure it's working as designed and then add conventional heating methods between the solar equipment and the hot water taps.

    But we''ll (at least I will) need a little more info to comment more specifically.

    What type of solar equipment do you currently have ? Solar thermal, PV or something else ?

    Most solar thermal equipment heats water but is usually not designed to boil water.

    Is the application for space heating or for domestic potable water heating, or both, or something else ?

    Do you have other source(s) of fuel for water heating available such as nat. gas or propane ? If so, know that they will most likely be less expensive to operate than heating water with electricity.
    Last edited by J.P.M.; 06-09-2019, 11:31 AM.

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    • #3
      Some of my response would depend on where you are located. I presume, when you say solar boiler you mean solar thermal. A friend of mine in a Beach town in Southern California used heat pump water heaters. He had no solar thermal panels on his roof but had lots of PV solar panels on his roof that more than covered his consumption. He used one heat pump for domestic hot water and fired up another heat pump in the winter for heating his house. His climate was temperate and he used baseboard heaters throughout his house.
      Last edited by Ampster; 06-09-2019, 12:52 PM.

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      • #4
        I heat water with PV and it can be low cost and easy to install (no plumbing worries). Supplemental water heating has a good payback. Expecting the sun to do it all is problematic. There is limited equipment out there unless going the grid tie method where water is heated instead of pushing it onto the grid at low payback.

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        • #5
          Thanks on answers people!
          I am not a solar boiler expert but it has a big tank with watter and 2 solar panels with pipes inside where the watter is heating.
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Narnemo,

            What you have is referred to as "solar thermal heating" To add supplemental heat add a inline tankless water heater to the output of the solar water heater. Gas burning tankless heaters will be more cost effective for larger installations , but small under counter electric tankless heaters can be used as well. These heaters raise the input temperature of the water to the desired temperature on demand, they only heat water on demand and do not store hot water. When two heaters are connected in series the solar system raises the temperatures first then the alternate source of power finishes the task. Quite cost effective.

            I use a small 15 gallon electric water heater with a special element that is 24/48 volts DC that runs off excess solar p.v. power, boosted by a small propane gas tankless heater so I can get a hot shower at dawn, but it's solar later in the day when my batteries are nearing full charge. The propane heater runs only for a few seconds or so until the solar hot water enters then it shuts off as the solar heated water is over the temperature setting of the propane tankless heater

            Im way off grid with no PoCo utilities at all.
            Last edited by Tecnodave; 06-09-2019, 10:30 PM.

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            • #7
              I'm off grid and out in the power shed. I just noticed both my water tanks have shut off and it isn't even 10am. Got to find a new place to dump excess PV solar.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tecnodave View Post
                Narnemo,

                What you have is referred to as "solar thermal heating" To add supplemental heat add a inline tankless water heater to the output of the solar water heater. Gas burning tankless heaters will be more cost effective for larger installations , but small under counter electric tankless heaters can be used as well. These heaters raise the input temperature of the water to the desired temperature on demand, they only heat water on demand and do not store hot water. When two heaters are connected in series the solar system raises the temperatures first then the alternate source of power finishes the task. Quite cost effective.

                I use a small 15 gallon electric water heater with a special element that is 24/48 volts DC that runs off excess solar p.v. power, boosted by a small propane gas tankless heater so I can get a hot shower at dawn, but it's solar later in the day when my batteries are nearing full charge. The propane heater runs only for a few seconds or so until the solar hot water enters then it shuts off as the solar heated water is over the temperature setting of the propane tankless heater

                Im way off grid with no PoCo utilities at all.
                Thank you, now things are much more clear

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                • #9
                  Narnemo,

                  you our are quite welcome.

                  david

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