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Design, simulation, and analysis of domestic solar water heating systems in Phoenix, Arizona

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Research was conducted to quantify the energy and cost savings of two different domestic solar water heating systems compared to an all-electric water heater for a four-person household in Phoenix,

Research was conducted to quantify the energy and cost savings of two different domestic solar water heating systems compared to an all-electric water heater for a four-person household in Phoenix, Arizona. The knowledge gained from this research will enable utilities to better align incentives and consumers to make more informed decisions prior to purchasing a solar water heater. Daily energy and temperature data were collected in a controlled, closed environment lab. Three mathematical models were designed in TRNSYS 17, a transient system simulation tool. The data from the lab were used to validate the TRNSYS models, and the TRNSYS results were used to project annual cost and energy savings for the solar water heaters. The projected energy savings for a four-person household in Phoenix, Arizona are 80% when using the SunEarth® system with an insulated and glazed flat-plate collector, and 49% when using the FAFCO® system with unglazed, non-insulated flat-plate collectors. Utilizing all available federal, state, and utility incentives, a consumer could expect to recoup his or her investment after the fifth year if purchasing a SunEarth® system, and after the eighth year if purchasing a FAFCO® system. Over the 20-year analysis period, a consumer could expect to save $2,519 with the SunEarth® system, and $971 with the FAFCO® system.

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  • 2012