solar hot water

Heating water with sunshine is nothing new. For thousands of years people have used the sun to heat water, even as basic as a black bucket full of water in the yard. It takes a lot of energy to heat water using electricity or gas. In fact, up to 30% of a home’s energy consumption is used solely to heat water for bathing, laundry and cleaning. By installing a solar hot water system, homeowners can significantly reduce energy consumption, thereby saving money and even reducing global pollution at the same time! A properly selected, sized and installed system will provide decades of cost savings and environmentally friendly trouble-free performance. Installing a solar hot water system is the first-and most cost-effective step when turning to the sun for energy. Even if you plan on installing a photovoltaic system, a solar hot water system is almost always a must-do component to your home solar energy system.

types of systems

Design and technology for solar thermal has greatly improved in the recent decade bringing the most reliable, efficient and cost effectives systems not previously known. Newer systems use "drain back" technology, which provide the highest efficiency and reliability for most applications. Solar Energy has a wide array of systems and configurations to meet your hot water needs and your budget. Systems compatible for our Virginia climate include:

  • Drain Back Systems. State-of-the-art, fail-safe freeze protection with thermal limiting (closed loop, indirect): Collector water is separate from potable water and the collector water drains into a special tank to prevent freezing and overheating concerns once potable water is up to temperature or risk of freezing exists.
  • Indirect Heating, Differential or Photovoltaic (PV) Controlled Antifreeze Protection (closed loop, indirect): Collector water is separate from potable water and contains non-toxic antifreeze. Sometimes referred to as “pressured glycol” systems. The small electric circulation pump can be powered by a small PV collector.
  • Direct Heating, Differential or PV Controlled (open loop, direct): Potable water is circulated from the storage tank to the collector when heat is available and required. No additional heat exchanger is required as the collector serves this purpose. The small electric circulation pump can be powered by a small PV collector.
  • Integrated Collector Storage “ICS” (open loop, direct): Potable water is both pre-heated and stored in a roof top unit before going into a conventional water heater. This basic system uses regular water pressure to circulate water and does not require pumps or temperature controllers.

Each system type has its own merits and limitations. There are many factors that go into selecting a system that will meet your needs. All our solar hot water systems normally include a conventional back-up electric heating source to ensure you will always have hot water available, rain or shine. Call us today for a free in-home site survey!

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