Editor’s Note: EarthTechling, always looking to forward the cleantech revolution discussion, is proud to bring you this article via a cross post from new partner Green Prophet. Author credit goes to Maurice Picow.
Although China leads the world in the number of solar water heaters in use, and Israel was the pioneer and chief country-wide user of solar water heaters for 25 years, today the Republic of Cyprus has the distinction of being the world leader of solar water heater users per capita. Heating water by black solar collector plates on roof tops was originally invented in Israel during the early 1950s, and that country was the first to instigate a national policy in regards to their use by the general public. Neighboring Egypt is also widening the use of solar water heaters, and even poorer sectors of the country are using their ingenuity to build home made versions of solar water heaters.
Israel boasts that its population uses solar energy to heat water at a rate of 0.56 square maters of solar water heating collectors per person. But Cyprus has an even greater percentage with 0.79 square meters per person via Sustainable Business.com.
North America, on the other hand lags far behind, with the USA ranking 36th in installed capacity relative to its population, with just 0.01 square meters installed per person according to same article. China is much more involved in solar water heating with more than 1.8 billion square feet (1,676,134 sq.m) of solar water heating.
Even European countries like Germany are jumping onto the solar water heating bandwagon, with 2 million Germans already heating water in this manner. In Austria, 15% of the population use solar water heating; while Spain has a law requiring that all new or renovated buildings have solar heating installed.
Many Spanish cities like Barcelona now use the sun to heat water
Compared to many other types of water heating systems solar water heaters only require the heat of the sun to provide hot water on sunny days.
The systems can pay for themselves over a short period of time, and in the developing world a home made solar heating system using plastic bottles, can even purify drinking water. The sun is free, abundant and using it for light and heating clearly is a no-brainer for saving greenhouse gas emissions.
Whether it involves passing laws, like Spain did; or simply a desire to utilize a cleaner and cheaper energy source, solar water heating is definitely on the rise all over the planet. We’d like to see its use more widespread in Arabian countries.
Read more on on solar water heating:
The Sodis Makes light, and water, of plastic bottles
Poor Egyptians Find Innovative Ways to Build Solar Water Heating
Israeli Solar Collectors Heading to North America
Israel Pioneering Use of Bottled Solar Energy Has Others Following Suit