By doing so we put you in the driver seat of the electricity cost truck.
Suppose we could then concentrate these 38 Watts into an area of only 1/8 of a square inch? This is exactly what we can do with an inexpensive plastic Fresnel lens. We’ll focus the sunlight into an area 3/8” in diameter – this is the equivalent of 300 Watts per square inch! With this energy level, we can easily ignite a piece of wood; boil some water, and even melt a penny.
If there are no clouds in the way, then one square meter of the earth will receive about one kilowatt of that energy. So for the six hours in the middle of a sunny day, an area the size of a small backyard swimming pool (48 m2) will receive about 288 kilowatts of energy. That’s nearly 5 times what the average SA household uses in an entire day! (In the South Africa, the average daily electricity use is around 30 kilowatt hours per household).
This also highlights that making the intervention (installing the solar water heater) effectively reduced their annual usage from 11 697 kWh to 8 555 kWh.
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