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Solar Hot Water Capacity

When considering Solar Hot Water (SHW) systems,it also pays to look at your home water usage. So, rather than choosing a storage or heater unit on size, take a look at your real needs. A SHW unit can provide most if not all of your needs if properly sized and set up.  Even snowy climates an benefit from solar hot water units.  When you combine a solar hot water system with solar power, you can make very large savings on power consumption.  The great thing is, that if you are handy, a DIY solar Hot Water system or solar panel are quite achievable.
 
How Much Volume ?
From the number of people in the home, we can work outthe size of the storage unit and the solar collector area.  A storage tank of  200 liters (50 to 60 gallons) is about right for up to three people if used with some awareness of your usage.  Larger systems of  300 liters (80 gallons) suite three to four people. With bigger families, you will need larger storage or possible some kind of "booster" to make up nay "solar shortfall".  Depending on what you set your systems temperature at and the temperature of the incoming water, your system will need to reflect the size of the collector.  If you are living in snowy climates, the colder water takes more to heat and there will be heat loss unless the unit is properly insulated.

What does this mean in terms of collector sizes? 
It is typival to allow about 2 square meters for each person up to 2 people, and after that you add one square meter for each person.  This allows for the seasonal variation of sun hours and solar heating. Lets face it, having a little more solar capacity is always welcome especially when the heating is free.  The added cost of the extra collection unit adds little to the overall installation.  If you live in snowy climates or areas of lower sun intensity or hours such as the lower northern or southern latitudes, then you would always err on the bigger size of collector.

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