Solar water heating systems use the sun's energy to heat water. A solar water heating system is made up of several key components including solar collectors, thermal storage, system controls/controller, and back-up, conventional water heater. Sunlight strikes and heats an absorber surface within a solar collector or an actual storage tank. Either a heat-transfer fluid or the actual potable water to be used flows through tubes attached to the absorber and picks up the heat from it (systems with a separate heat-transfer-fluid loop include a heat exchanger that then heats the potable water.) The heated water is stored in a separate preheat tank or a conventional water heater tank until needed. If additional heat is needed, it is provided by electricity or fossil-fuel energy by the conventional water heating system.
The geothermal heat pump, also known as the ground source heat pump, is a highly efficient renewable energy technology that is gaining wide acceptance for both residential and commercial buildings. Geothermal heat pumps are used for space heating and cooling, as well as water heating. The benefit of ground source heat pumps is they concentrate naturally existing heat, rather than by producing heat through the combustion of fossil fuels.
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