Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Thermal
How efficient is the Solar Thermal Solar Collector?
Solar Thermal Collectors have been tested at 86.9% maximum efficiency. On average, 65% of available solar energy is delivered as useable heat. Even on a winters day Solar Thermal can heat water to 80C or 176F. A hot shower, by comparison, is only 105F
How much hot water will Solar Thermal supply?
Solar Thermal systems are capable of producing 100% of your hot water requirements on an annual basis. A low-cost Solar Thermal system would supply 100% of your hot water during the summer months and a significant proportion during the winter.
How safe is the Solar Thermal system?
It is totally safe.
1. The collectors continue to operate efficiently at temperatures far below freezing.
2. The only material in contact with the water is copper which is non-toxic.
3. Solar Thermal collectors have been proven to withstand hailstorms as well as high winds.
What can a Solar Thermal system be used for?
Solar Thermal systems have been chosen for a wide variety of domestic and commercial applications. These installations range from domestic hot water systems, space heating, pools, spas, and hot tubs to commercial solar heating and air conditioning systems in airport terminals, hospitals, and hotels.
Could a Solar Thermal system heat my house?
Yes it could. There are a number of important factors to consider.
1. The area you live in - areas with good winter radiation are excellent, even in cold weather.
2. How the house is heated - radiant floor heating systems are best, as they operate at low temperatures.
3. House design - open plan or high ceiling homes are excellent for radiant heating.
4. A full backup system should always be provided. This can be a conventional boiler, however lately we have had demand for linking to wood stoves or external wood boilers. This is very practical - especially for those who wish to substantially reduce their bills - or even move 'off grid'.
5. We recommend that house heating be combined with a summer application, e.g. a pool or spa.
What about installation?
Solar Thermal Collectors are light and modular and can usually be installed in one day by a qualified professional. They are supplied with a marine grade stainless steel frame and, being light weight, they will attach easily to your existing structure. The solar tubes allow air to circulate around them and will not trap moisture or debris. Methods of getting the heat into the water are as follows.
1. In areas prone to freezing - The collector is connected to a heat exchanger, usually in the hot water tank, and a non-toxic propylene glycol antifreeze is used to transfer the heat down. This system is excellent for multiple applications and is very versatile.
2. Warm non-freezing climates - In these areas a direct connection can be made to a tank, even an existing one using a special fitting, simplifying installation and lowering costs.
What about maintenance?
No collector maintenance is required. The glass tubes are round and perfectly smooth; any dirt or dust is carried away by the wind and rain. There are no moving parts to wear out. All components are made from high grade stainless steel, copper or non-corrosive materials.
Is the Solar Thermal Collector a proven product?
There are over two million tubes in every-day use in over thirty thousand locations worldwide. There are hundreds of installations in North America from the Canadian north to the southern deserts.