Solar electric vs solar thermal water heating: A comparison

South Africa

Submitted by Angelo Buckley
Published 2 years, 7 months ago

How does a solar PV-driven hot water system perform in comparison with an equivalently sized solar thermal driven system in the same locality?

Angelo Buckley from University of Stellenbosch recently addressed this in a lecture entitled “Comparison of Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal Hot Water Systems in the South African Context”.


The lecture was based on a paper emanating from a study that was carried out as a financial feasibility analysis using the performance and cost data recorded from a 1.56 kWp PV and 2.4 m² solar thermal hot water systems installed at two separate houses on Mariendahl Farm near Stellenbosch, South Africa. The study was part of the SOLTRAIN programme.

Performance data recorded from these systems was also used to investigate the financial feasibility of another inexpensive PV-waterheating system locally available on the South African market. In his lecture, Angelo Buckley compared the performance and financial feasibility of the 4 different alternatives of solar water heating systems over a 25-year period.

Download the full paper here.