FAQ1 : What are the maintenance requirements?
Domestic solar water heating system do not need significant maintenance requirements. Occasional leakages in the plumbing could be easily repaired by common plumbers. In case quality of water is hard, scale deposition in the collectors may result over the years. This may require descaling with acids for which it is best to contact the suppliers. Broken glass may also have to be replaced by the suppliers. If outside exposed surfaces are painted, the paint may have to be redone every 2-3 years to prevent corrosion of the surfaces.
Domestic solar systems do not require any special operational skills. However, if following are observed, the efficiency of the systems will be maintained at a high level: Try to consume most of the heated water at one time - either in the morning or in the evening. Frequent on and off of the hot water tap would lead to reduced electricity savings. If an electrical back up is provided in the tank, set the thermostat at the lowest acceptable temperature. In the north Indian climate, hot water may not be used for bathing in summers. If the system is to be put totally out of use, it should be drained of water and the collector should be covered. Alternatively, if the hot water requirement remains in summers also, though at a reduced level, cover the collector partially. Dust deposition on the collector would reduce its efficiency. Try to get it cleaned at least once in a week.
There are more than 50 BIS approved suppliers of domestic solar water heating systems in the country. Complete list can be obtained from Director, Solar Energy Group, MNES, Block No. 14, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi, or, from this website under "soft loan programme or solar water heating systems ".
Though aesthetics are a matter of individual preference, most domestic solar water heating systems can be either designed to blend with the building exteriors or can be designed so that they are hidden from view. If systems are well installed and maintained, they might even add to the aesthetics.
The Central Government through its Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources provides soft loans for installation of domestic solar water heating systems. These loans are being provided through 7 Nationalized banks and the interest rate on the loans is 5%. The details of the scheme can be obtained from this website under "soft loan programme or solar water heating systems ".