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DIY 12v / 24v solar thermal HW system on a barge

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  • DIY 12v / 24v solar thermal HW system on a barge

    Hi there, first time posting so apologies if I'm going over old ground. I'm looking to install a solar thermal system on my liveaboard Dutch barge and was hoping for some thoughts/feedback on my ideas.

    I've recently had the central heating onboard updated. The primary heat source is a 15 kw diesel boiler. As part of that retrofit, i had a 3 coil unvented tank (calorifier) installed. 1 coil is for the boiler, one for the engine, and one is spare with the intention of using for solar thermal. The tank volume is 90-100 litres. The tank also has a 1000w, 240v immersion heater. We are two people onboard and rarely get through a tank to the point of cold water, with heating cycles in the morning and evening. The barge is located on the Thames in London, UK.

    Ideally I would like the system to be self supporting, meaning it would be powered by its own PV panel connected to an independent 12v battery. The domestic systems onboard are 24v and 240v shore line. Ideally i would rather not have a draw on either of those systems for a variety of reasons.

    The barge is fairly large, with lots of roof space, though I separately have plans for a fairly powerful PV system in future.

    General questions I have.

    - Any recommendations for equipment in terms of control units, pumps, etc?
    - Thoughts on how large the collector would need to be / how many? I don't really know how to size these.
    - The tank does not have inbuilt locations for temperature sensors. I'm assuming that thermistors on the tank body and possibly HW output would be ok? I can't find any real online resources that explain how this works.
    - Is this even a road worth going down with a relatively small tank compared to what I've seen in my research?
    - Any other words of wisdom/products to recommend/resources to look at?

    Thanks so much,