Solar Water Heating as a Potential Source of Inland Norway Energy Mix

The Norwegian government aims to reduce its environmental impact and dependence on overseas fossil fuels by relying more on renewable energy sources. As the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, many have predicted that Norway would continue to rely on oil for economic prosperity. However, the country has taken a bold step in the direction of renewable energy, with a feed-in tariff for solar power and other support mechanisms encouraging individuals and businesses to switch to green energy.

Solar water heating (SWH) is well-suited for regions that suffer from cold winters. Its low installation cost makes it a popular choice with homeowners across Europe who are seeking to generate their own energy at home. While it isn’t the most efficient method of heating a home, it’s an excellent option for those seeking cost-savings or those with a passion for DIY.

SWH Inland Norway Potential

Based on its geography, the country of Inland Norway will be heavily dependent on solar energy for heat. The lack of sunlight during the winter months will severely curtail the use of conventional heating systems, while the long, dark winter nights put the country at risk of freezing. While the nation isn’t exactly located in the middle of nowhere, it does sit at the edge of an Arctic Circle, making it one of the most northern countries in the world.

The Norwegian government is well aware of the potential of solar energy in Inland Norway, which is why it established a special authority to oversee solar power development. The body, named Einar Resolute Research Centre (EMRE), was established in 2015 to research and promote the use of solar power in the country. One of its projects is the establishment of a demonstration plant in the city of Porsgrunn.

EMRE has identified solar water heating as a key technology for home heating in Inland Norway. Its research has shown that while there is sufficient solar radiation throughout the year in the region, the intensity decreases significantly during the winter months. Solar radiation in the country is at its lowest during the winter, reaching a maximum of only 1,100 kWh/m^2/year in the summer. (1 kWh = 1,000 Wh) This is compared to a global radiation maximum of 2,300 kWh/m^2/year and a local radiation maximum of 2,700 kWh/m^2/year in the summer. (2) So if you’re looking to generate your own energy in Inland Norway and want to save some money, why not consider investing in a solar water heater?

SWH System Design

While SWH can be used for space and water heating, it’s most commonly used for heating water for personal use. This is largely for economic reasons. Installing and repairing a SWH system is a cheaper option than buying energy on the open market. A SWH system can also be more efficient than buying energy on the open market because it’s designed for the specific tasks it will perform. This is in contrast to commercial models, which are usually more expensive and lack some of the features specifically designed for home use. Let’s have a look at what a typical SWH system includes.

1. Water tank.

The tank itself is one of the most important components of a SWH system. It stores the water to be heated and acts as a heat reservoir. The larger the tank, the greater the capacity to store heat. Larger tanks have the added advantage of lasting longer, meaning you won’t need to buy new ones as often. Larger tanks should also be more stable, preventing spills should they unexpectedly occur. Remember when choosing a tank, the volume of water you need to heat will be based on the size of your family and the amount of time you intend to use the water heater each day. For example, if you have a large family and plan to use the water heater for two to three hours each day, you will need a large tank to provide sufficient heat energy.

2. Solar collector.

The solar collector is the device that gathers and redirects sunlight into the tank to heat the water. The greater the surface area of the collector, the greater the amount of heat it will accumulate. The most efficient ones are made from glass or metal and come with a black coating to maximise absorption of light. The coating also prevents the heat from escaping, meaning your hot-tubs will stay hot even in the coldest winter months. Without a doubt, the most important factor to consider when choosing a solar collector is its efficiency.

3. Thermal insulation.

The thermal insulation is used to keep heat within the water tank during the winter months. The most common type of insulation used is polystyrene, which is a type of expandable plastic. The advantage of this type of insulation is that it can be easily customized to fit any type of water heater. This makes it the perfect choice for those seeking to build a DIY water heater. If you have a question about which type of insulation to choose, just dial 1-877-870-6135 to speak with an expert over the phone.

4. Vent.

The vent is used to release any excess pressure that might build up within the tank as a result of water heating. Should there be any problems with the system, excessive pressure could potentially cause damage or injury. To prevent this from happening, the vent should be vented to atmosphere via a suitable tube or pipe. When choosing a vent, remember to consider the size of your family and any guests you might have over for dinner. For example, if you have a small family, a manually-vented tank might be the way to go because it’s simpler to use and less prone to failure. Should you decide to go this route, make sure to purchase a manually-vented tank so you can still vent the pressure should problems arise.

5. Pump.

The pump is used to circulate the water within the tank and ensure even heating across the entire tank. When choosing a pump, bear in mind the size of your family and how much you intend on using the heater each day. Smaller families that use the water heater for shorter periods per day might not need a pump, but for larger families and those who use the water daily, the pump ensures even heating and prevents the risk of scalding or burns from hot water.

6. Drain.

The drain is used to remove any excess water from the tank once the desired amount of water is reached. When the tank is full, the excess water will naturally flow out via the drain. The size of the drain is based on how quickly you intend to use the water. If you have a small family or just want to quickly wash away food residues before drinking the water, a smaller drain might be sufficient. However, if you have a family or intend to use the water for cooking or bathing, a larger drain might be needed so that any excess water doesn’t overflow and cause a soaking wet floor or damage other pipes in the vicinity should it break.

Why Install Solar Water Heating Inland Norway?

As previously stated, Einar Resolute Research Centre (EMRE) has identified solar water heating as a key technology for home heating in Inland Norway. The government body has worked with industry experts to determine the best way to encourage individuals and businesses to switch to green energy sources and install SWH systems in homes and businesses in the country.

Based on its research, EMRE has determined that while solar radiation is abundant in the region, the intensity drops significantly during the winter months, which puts the region at risk of freezing. The government body also notes that while it’s not exactly the most energy-efficient or cost-effective way of heating a home or business, it’s a cost-effective option for those seeking to generate their own energy and save money. This is largely thanks to the fact that SWH systems are much simpler to use and maintain than other home heat sources, such as solid-state heat pumps or heat-transfer liquids.

SWH Inland Norway Popularity

While solar energy will undoubtedly have a place in heating homes and businesses in Inland Norway, it isn’t necessarily a done deal yet. While many will surely decide to go green and save money where they can, others will object to the notion of generating their own power. This is where we come in. If you’re interested in installing a SWH system in your home or business, contact a reputable heating contractor in Inland Norway today and start saving energy while enjoying hot water throughout the year.

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