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Stylized Text: System Installation - Storage Tank.

The purpose of the water heater (also referred to as a "storage tank") is twofold. First, the water heater stores the solar heated water. Second, the water heater usually has some type of back-up water heating device in the event the solar system is not producing any hot water.

The water that is heated by the solar collector is stored in the water heater for future use. If all this water is used up and the solar system is incapable of providing more hot water because of a cloudy day, then the electric heating elements in the water heater will come on at a set temperature and heat the water.

Solar water heater tank Here, the installer begins the installation of the new water heater. This involves plumbing the water heater for cold service, hot outlet, and collector feed and return lines. In order to use a standard electric water heater in a solar system, the installer has to modify some of the plumbing since the conventional tank does not have a collector feed and return port.
Tank plumbing At this point, the installer will spend some time installing the water heater and solar collector piping. A variety of plumbing valves are also included in the tank area.
Tank electrical service Electric service will also have to be wired into the water heater. In this case, the installer uses the same 220V wiring from the previous tank.
Tank piping insulation Once the piping has been installed, the installer will then place insulation on all sections of exposed piping. This will help reduce heat loss during system operation. Although an insulation blanket could be used, this installer has chosen a water heater that already has a high R-value which will help prevent heat loss.
Tank thermostat One of the last steps that the installer takes during the water heater installation is to set the thermostat on the water heater. As stated previously, even though the majority of the hot water in a solar system is produced by solar energy, in the event of cloudy weather or when all the solar heated water is used up at night, the electric elements are always there to provide supplemental hot water heating.
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