Environmental Protection

Water Heating Study Claims Solar a Good Option

An analysis of the engineering and economics for a solar water-heating system shows it to have a payback period of just two years, according to researchers in India. They report, in the International Journal of Global Energy Issues, on the success of the 1,000-liter system operating at a university hostel.

Vivek Khambalkar, Sharashchandra Gadge, and Dhiraj S. Karale at the Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Agricultural University in Maharashtra, India, explain how they have evaluated the various costs and benefits involved in solar hot-water production. They have compared solar hot-water production per liter with electrical energy approaches and found that solar heating is 57 percent of the internal rate of return.

"Solar energy is the only renewable energy source that has wide range of uses with commercial viability. Solar energy provides water heating, air heating, and electricity through various modes of applications. The use of solar energy for thermal purposes is the most cost-effective way of utilizing the resource. A solar water heating system satisfies the need of warm water," the researchers explain.

The solar hot water system used in the study is installed at the Jijau hostel, part of the university campus, in Akola, Maharashtra. The team estimates that the system will effectively pay for itself five times over, given an estimated working life of about 20 years.

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