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Hot water in Thailand comes in one of two forms:
- Naturally, by way of the first bit of water in a pipe that is near the surface, which is heated by the sun, and
- Via a (usually electric) hot water heater which is installed in the shower (and makes foreigners fearful of electrocution)
Sometimes the hot water heater is gas, but that just makes the fear change from one of electrocution to that of immolation.
Northern Thailand is Cold some amount of the Year
As opposed to Southern or Central Thailand, Northern Thailand can get very cold, usually for a week or so, and sometimes several times during the cold season. If in the mountains, it is downright chilly, and for longer periods. Still, little insulation and zero heaters are installed or available.
Single System for Hot Water and Heating
Solar Thermal hot water is one of the few truly economic solar-based systems for Thailand. Hot water is a delight throughout most of the year (excluding a few months of scorching temperatures), and hot water in a sink is a pleasant delight for cleanup.
low mass mod/con boiler, drainback solar collector array, thermal accumulator tank, and homerun distribution system
This system is much improved over an in-ground system (which is prone to damage and uses a lot more energy) and includes an electric element for cloudy days or heavy use. Living the in the tropics, solar is readily available, though indeed there are cloudy days and the (very) occasional week of rain.