Active solar heating systems convert solar radiation into heat which can be used directly.
In the Albania uses are primarily domestic water heating and other low temperature heating applications. In hotter climates a wider range of applications is possible, including electricity generation.
There are two types of solar water heating systems, Direct and Indirect. With Direct systems the water flowing in the collector tubes is the same as the water circulating in the tank and comes out of the taps, With Indirect systems the heat transfer fluid circulating around the system does not come into direct contact with the water coming in the tank or coming out of the taps.
Domestic water heating schemes consist of solar collectors, pump, control unit, connecting pipes, and backup heat source such as gas or electric immersion heater. With Direct hot water system, the existing hot water tank can be retained. However for Indirect systems, if the existing hot water tank is to be retained a pre-heat tank will be required. Alternatively the existing single coil hot water tank can be replaced with a twin coil tank removing the need for a preheat tank.
The overall area of the panels is typically 3-4 square meters.
Renewable electricity generating technologies such as photovoltaic’s and wind turbines can be used to offset the small amount of carbon emissions arising from the electric pump circulating water around the solar hot water system.