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Solar Hot Water Panels

Tell me about the Solar Hot Water Systems Manual talked about in the magazine Alternative Energy Retailer.

Solar energy veteran Tom Lane of ECS Solar Energy Systems recently published "Solar Hot Water Systems - Lessons Learned: 1977 to Today." The 200 page manual outlines how the latest technology and valuable lessons learned from the past can help a new generation of solar contractors expand their businesses and satisfy their Customers.

Solar hot water topics covered in the book include: detailed system CAD drawings, an overview of different manufacturers' components, drain back systems, closed-loop glycol systems, single- and double-pumped systems, open-loop systems, passive ICS and thermosyphon, system testing and monitoring, solar space heating, collector and storage sizing, roofing and flashing, and solar pool heating.

To learn more about "Solar Hot Water Systems - Lessons Learned: 1977 to Today" or to purchase a copy, visit www.ecs-solar.com or call 352-377-8866.

To view the Alternative Energy Retailer magazine's web site click on www.aer-online.com

Q: How are Solar Hot Water Panels installed in the dome shell?

A: Solar Hot Water panels can be designed to set on top of the entryways or link. Anchors are buried into the entryway concrete on site. Grooves are cut in the E.P.S. insulation to lay the pipes in and the water pipes are inserted through the entryway E.P.S. before the entryway is concreted. Some of our clients have solar hot water panels mounted on their dome link. The panel sits on the link and lies against the side of the dome. To hide the ends of the solar panel, fill in the ends with E.P.S. and stucco over the E.P.S. so it matches the dome.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Look to the right of the garage door to see a solar hot water panel installed on top a link and anchored to the dome
On top of the entryway to the left of the front doors is solar hot water panel

 

The Florida Solar Energy Center seeks to provide the general public and professionals with accurate and current information about alternative energy use and production. Click on www.fsec.ucf.edu/pvt/

U.S. Dept of Energy, Renewable Energy

The Consumer's Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is now located at http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/



New URLs are as follows:

Your Home

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/

Heating and Cooling

http:/ /www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12300

Buying Clean Electricity

http://www.eere. energy.gov/consumer/your_home/electricity/index.cfm/mytopic=10400

Making Clean Electricity

http://www.eere. energy.gov/consumer/your_home/electricity/index.cfm/mytopic=10510

Your Vehicle

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_vehicle/

Information Resources

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/information_resources/

Industry Plant Managers and Engineers

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/industry/

Energy Savers Booklet site

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/

Spectrolab: click on spectrolab. The following came directly from their web site: Welcome to Spectrolab, the world's leading manufacturer of space solar cells and panels. Spectrolab's product portfolio includes terrestrial concentrator solar cells and modules, searchlight systems (Nightsun® series), solar simulators and opto-electronic products.

Solar Direct: click on solardirect.com/swh/swh.htm?ref=adwords to see more solar info.


Triangular Solar Cells

Sharp

www.sharpusa.com/solar (Click on Products, Modules)

The following was taken directly from their web site:

  • Sharp is the #1 manufacturer of solar cells worldwide with nearly as much generating capacity as the next three largest manufacturers combined. Our residential solar systems give families the ability to generate their own electricity from the inexhaustible energy of the sun - with no harmful emissions. They're cost-effective, quiet, attractive, safe, and reliable, with only minimal maintenance required over their long operational life. They're the right choice for your home and the right choice for the environment. It's no wonder why so many homeowners are making the move to Sharp Solar.
  • Your Sharp solar system is customized specifically for your needs. We manufacture a complete line of solar modules in a range of power output levels, as well as unique triangular modules that lend a beautiful, custom look to angled rooflines. Your independent Sharp Certified Installer will help you determine the ideal system based on your power needs, and design a rooftop configuration that provides clear, unobstructed access to the sun while ensuring a clean, stylish appearance.

To Research Tankless Hot Water On Demand Water Heaters

(visit Rinnai, Bosch, Takagi web sites)

Klaus Kolb installed a Rinnai Continuum tankless (Troughflow) water heater in his American Ingenuity 40' Dome Home. The specifications are Whole House Unit, Model REU 2424W-US; Min 19000 BTU, Max 180000 BTU; LP Gas.

Rinnai

http://www.rinnai.us/

The following info came directly from their web site:

  • With Rinnai Continuum and Integrity's patented technology, you will have an endless supply of hot water 24 hours a day. Unique to the Rinnai tankless water heaters is the ability to utilize up to three water outlets simultaneously with a constant temperature of hot water. The Rinnai Continuum and Integrity supplies hot water at the rate of up to 8.5 gallons per minute continuously with no time constraints!

Bosch

http://www.boschusa.com/JumpPages/WaterHeaters/

The following info came directly from their web site:

  • Have you ever thought about going tankless? Save energy and space with the help of one of the nation's leading producers of tankless gas water heaters. Our highly efficient Bosch AquaStar tankless water heaters are redefining how homeowners throughout the U.S. heat their water!

How could going tankless benefit you?

  • Constant comfort: Never run out of hot water

  • Low operating costs: Most energy efficient water heaters on the market

  • Advanced technology: Designed and built to last 20 years

  • Easy handling: Small, lightweight and hangs on wall

In the US and Canada, for more information about Bosch High Efficiency Water Heaters or details about our product line, please visit our partner's website, www.controlledenergy.com or call 1-800-503-5028.

Takagi

http://www.takagi.com/index.asp

  • Since there is no tank to fill, there is no end to your supply of hot water. Depending on the model, Takagi Tankless water heaters deliver between 200 gallons and 500 gallons of hot water every hour on demand. Tankless systems guarantee that an endless supply of water is available to residences, commercial spaces or anywhere a constant source of hot water is needed.
  • At just twenty inches high, and weighing only forty pounds, the T-K Jr. is the most compact unit in the Takagi line. Designed to produce endless hot water and radiant heating for smaller homes, The T-K Jr. uses the same innovative technology as the original Takagi units - only on an even smaller scale.

Solar Pool Filtration and Collector Pumps

Lorentz

www.lorentz.de/en/products/surfacepumps/badutop

The following information came directly from their web site:

  • We manufacture solar water pumps. Today´s featured product are our solar pool filtration and collector pumps. No more power bills for your customer. Power cuts? No Problem the pool is clean 5 years return of investment from saved power bills. Solar modules are warranted for 20 years and more.


U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

A Consumer's Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters—also called solar domestic hot water systems—can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use—sunshine—is free.

How They Work

Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't.

Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank. Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank.

Three types of solar collectors are used for residential applications:

  • Flat-plate collector
  • Glazed flat-plate collectors are insulated, weatherproofed boxes that contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic (polymer) covers. Unglazed flat-plate collectors—typically used for solar pool heating—have a dark absorber plate, made of metal or polymer, without a cover or enclosure.
  • Integral collector-storage systems
  • Also known as ICS or batch systems, they feature one or more black tanks or tubes in an insulated, glazed box. Cold water first passes through the solar collector, which preheats the water. The water then continues on to the conventional backup water heater, providing a reliable source of hot water. They should be installed only in mild-freeze climates because the outdoor pipes could freeze in severe, cold weather.
  • Evacuated-tube solar collectors
  • They feature parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. Each tube contains a glass outer tube and metal absorber tube attached to a fin. The fin's coating absorbs solar energy but inhibits radiative heat loss. These collectors are used more frequently for U.S. commercial applications.

There are two types of active solar water heating systems:

  • Direct circulation systems
  • Pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes.
  • Indirect circulation systems
  • Pumps circulate a non-freezing, heat-transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. They are popular in climates prone to freezing temperatures.

Passive solar water heating systems are typically less expensive than active systems, but they're usually not as efficient. However, passive systems can be more reliable and may last longer. There are two basic types of passive systems:

  • Integral collector-storage passive systems
  • These work best in areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. They also work well in households with significant daytime and evening hot-water needs.
  • Thermosyphon systems
  • Water flows through the system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks. The collector must be installed below the storage tank so that warm water will rise into the tank. These systems are reliable, but contractors must pay careful attention to the roof design because of the heavy storage tank. They are usually more expensive than integral collector-storage passive systems.

Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand. Conventional storage water heaters usually provide backup and may already be part of the solar system package. A backup system may also be part of the solar collector, such as rooftop tanks with thermosyphon systems. Since an integral-collector storage system already stores hot water in addition to collecting solar heat, it may be packaged with a demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heater for backup.

For more information about solar water heating system components, see the following information:

  • Heat Exchangers for Solar Water Heating Systems
  • Heat-Transfer Fluids for Solar Water Heating Systems

Selecting a Solar Water Heater

Before you purchase and install a solar water heating system, you want to do the following:

  • Consider the economics of a solar water heating system
  • Evaluate your site's solar resource
  • Determine the correct system size
  • Determine the system's energy efficiency
  • Estimate and compare system costs
  • Investigate local codes, covenants, and regulations.

For information about specific solar water heater models and systems, see the Product Information resources listed on the right side of this page (or below if you've printed the page).



Installing and Maintaining the System

The proper installation of solar water heaters depends on many factors. These factors include solar resource, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; therefore, it's best to have a qualified, solar thermal systems contractor install your system.

After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly. Passive systems don't require much maintenance. For active systems, discuss the maintenance requirements with your system provider, and consult the system's owner's manual. Plumbing and other conventional water heating components require the same maintenance as conventional systems. Glazing may need to be cleaned in dry climates where rainwater doesn't provide a natural rinse.

Regular maintenance on simple systems can be as infrequent as every 3–5 years, preferably by a solar contractor. Systems with electrical components usually require a replacement part after or two after 10 years. For more information about system maintenance, see the following:

  • Solar Water Heating System Maintenance and Repair
  • Solar Water Heating System Freeze Protection
  • Scaling and Corrosion in Solar Water Heating Systems

When screening potential contractors for installation and/or maintenance, ask the following questions:

  • Does your company have experience installing and maintaining solar water heating systems?
    Choose a company that has experience installing the type of system you want and servicing the applications you select.
  • How many years of experience does your company have with solar heating installation and maintenance?
    The more experience the better. Request a list of past customers who can provide references.
  • Is your company licensed or certified?
    Having a valid plumber's and/or solar contractor's license is required in some states. Contact your city and county for more information. Confirm licensing with your state's contractor licensing board. The licensing board can also tell you about any complaints against state-licensed contractors.

For contractor information, see the Professional Services resources listed on the right side of this page (or below if you've printed it out).

Improving Energy Efficiency

After your water heater is properly installed and maintained, try some additional energy-saving strategies to help lower your water heating bills, especially if you require a back-up system. Some energy-saving devices and systems are more cost-effective to install with the water heater.

Other Water Heater Options

  • Conventional storage water heaters
  • Demand water heaters
  • Heat pump water heaters
  • Tankless coil and indirect water heaters

Learn More

Evaluation Tools

  • Solar Benefits Model
    DOE Building Energy Software Tools Directory
  • Solar Water Heating Project Model
    RETScreen International

Financing & Incentives

  • Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy

Product Information

  • Approved Solar Energy Systems
    Florida Solar Energy Center
  • Certified Solar Collectors and Systems
    Solar Rating and Certification Corporation

Professional Services

  • Solar Energy Industries Association

Department of Energy Resources

  • Million Solar Roofs

State & Local Resources

  • State Chapters
    Solar Energy Industries Association

Related Links

  • Solar Water Heating
    Florida Solar Energy Center

Reading List

  • The Borrower's Guide to Financing Solar Energy Systems: A Federal Overview (PDF 501 KB). (September 1998). U.S. Department of Energy. This booklet provides an extensive overview of government-authorized special financing programs available to consumers interested in installing solar energy systems for heat and electricity.
  • Heat Your Water with the Sun (PDF 603 KB). (December 2003). DOE/GO-102003-1824. U.S. Department of Energy.
 
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