Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The rusty panels keep coming in!

These photos are of a six year old Solahart. What can be seen is extensive areas of dirty white and considerable moisture buildup under the glass.

This is typical of the pattern seen across the board with flat panel solar water heating systems.

The family that owns this lives on an isolated island without mains electricity. Repairs and replacement are not as simple as calling in a tradesman. Fortunately, they have a wetback backup for water heating. They estimate that performance is at least 50% less than when it was new.

Sadly, there appears little or no political, bureaucratic, consumer organisation or industry motivation to draw these problems to public attention.

Sadly, there seems no motivation at all for any kind of product recall. It appears the thousands of affected New Zealand families and businesses are being left out in the cold to deal with these problems on their own.

Sadly, there is yet to be any evidence whatsoever that the replacement panels of today are any better than those of yesterday.

On a positive note: Our family is soon going to reinvest in solar water heating. We are and have always been committed to energy conservation measures. But these have to be measures that really do work in a way that they really do return much more energy into the "system" than they consume in their production from raw material to product.

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