Solar Water Heaters vs. Heat Pump Water Heaters

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1. Sharing the majority of energy efficient water heaters, solar and heat pumps are competitors

Going ahead of photovoltaic technology and solar electricity generation technology, solar water heater technology is the most mature In the industry of solar. What’s more, solar water heaters are applied in rural markets widely. Contributing to energy saving, Eco-friendship and life quality. China is the biggest and most fast developing country in global solar industry. Currently the annual output of solar water heaters in China is 2 times as many as that in Europe and 4 times as many as that in South America. And it’s increasing at speed of 20-30% per year.

Heat pumps were introduced into markets in 1970’s. At the end of 1970’s, the annual output of heat pumps reached 500 grand units in USA and Japan. In the meantime, International Energy Agency and EU countries began to make heat pump developing plans. In 21st century, energy crisis is more and more urgent. Heat pumps becomes one of the focus of energy saving products again.

Solar water heaters and heat pump water heaters are two most popular energy efficient water heaters. They share the markets together. It’s an apparent trend that many distributors, contractors, energy saving companies and other relevant companies begin to cover heat pump business. They realize the prospects of heat pumps and they realized solar is not enough for many projects.

2. Integrated into the same projects, solar and heat pumps are friends

As is well know, solar water heaters are not enough to supplying hot water. Nights, cloudy days and rainy days will affect the running of solar water heater. So, almost all of the solar water heating projects need supplements for backup, either electric water heaters or something else.

Heat pumps are supposed to be the best option as supplements of solar water heaters. It’s really a good news. It’s learned that heat pumps, replacing boilers, gas and electricity, are appointed to be the supplements for most of new and renovation solar water heating projects. Because huge water heating projects need both of them, solar and heat pumps become partner and friends.

3. Can residential markets copy the mode of solar and heat pump?

Solar and heat pump mode is more and more popular in commercial fields. Then can this mode be copied to residential markets? Residential solutions lag behind commercial solutions. However, many companies are busy doing R and D for residential solar and heat pump technology. There’re 2 difficult problems for this tech:

  • One water tank for both solar and heat pumps. The water flows from the solar and the heat pump the tank will interact with each other. So the balance of water in the tank may be destroyed.
  • Gang control of both solar and heat pumps. For example, when there’s enough sunlights, heat pumps can be shut off to save most electricity. On the contrary, at nights, we need heat pumps to supply all the hot water. The control solution for the whole system will be crucial.
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