The following pages will cover all my personal experiance gained since 1991 until 2017 related to solar water heating
The begining of many years ahead of me in learning all about solar water heating started in Cyprus in 1993, after selling my luxery bathroom/kitchen and property refurbishement business in 1991.
researching solar collectors in 1991/92 started with the design and development of a Thermal Store which was found to underperform in winter months due to the freezing incoming mains water pressure into UK homes. The full details of thermal stores can be found under another link
My decison to set up a new business in Cyprus came about after taking a much needed holiday in 1992, followed by two more visits and finding a British person married to a Cypriot working as a plumber. In 1993, I packed and shipped a 40ft container of a varied mixed range of products to be unloaded into a rented shop in Paphos.
I had planned to be there for 6 weeks setting up the showroom with my own solar collector on the flat roof, with a imported batch water heater with glass tubes on the front of the shop after building an extension to the shop front that represented a UK pitched roof. In those days, there was no digital camera, only film type, which is why I have no early pictures to show, until 2 yrs later.
We begin with the many issues with flat plate collectors
At this time in 1993, the majority of solar collectors were flat plate and made in Cyprus with imports from Greece, Turkey and Israel.
Both Isral and Cyprus are the top two countries in the world with the largest use of solar water heating per population.
There are two installation options for flat plate, one is a thermo siphon system, as per the picture above, the 2nd is a split system, where only the collector is on the roof while the hot water tank in in located in basement of the house.
The majority of early thermo siphon systems included a cold tank above the tank and collectors, which was replenished with a mains water supply.
Below is a list of some of the failures i found in my first few months in Cyprus once I had no choice but to close down the business in the UK and move to Cyprus.
The majority of failed solar water heating (SWH) systems was caused by lime scale due to the same potable water being in the water tank and the collector.
Both these countries used bore holes and resorvoirs for there water which had heavy lime deposits. As the cold water heated up in the copper exchanger collector, the lime would coat the inner part of the 12mm copper tube behind the glass. Within 2 yrs the water flow through the collectors had almost stoped.
As much as I came up with a solution to solve these through a water conditioner, the local cyprus SWH industry was not interested as they were happy replacing collectors on a regular basis.