Solar Thermal


 What better way to heat your water and space than with the sun!

Solar thermal collectors absorb the heat from the sun and use this heat to heat your water or living space, or both. Air Collectors heat air which is then ducted directly into your living space or into your forced air heating system. The more common solar collector uses a water or a glycol solution to heat your water or living space. Solar collectors are very well suited to assist with hydronic, hot water, heating systems, which could be either baseboard heating with radiators or in floor heating. In floor heating systems are the preferred heating system by many world wide. The most common solar heating use is for heating domestic hot water. A well designed solar hot water heating systen can supply up to 75% of hot water needs in northern climates.  Solar thermal systems are a proven technology and have been used since the beginning of time for heating requirements. They are no more complicated and require little, if any, more maintenance that other standard household heating systems.

There are two common types of collectors, flat plate and evacuated heat pipes. Evacuated heat pipe collectors are comprised of long evacuated tubes that contain a heat pipe heat exchanger. The heat pipe absorbs the heat from the sun and transfers it to a manifold where the system liquid picks up the heat and transfers it to your heating requirements. Because of the heat transfer taking place in a vacuum this type of collector has very little heat loss to the surroundings and is ideal for northern climates. See for more details on this type of system.

Flat plate collectors are used for heating either air or liquids. The flat plate collector contains a heat exchanger comprised of tubing, or ducting for air collectors, and selective surface material, sandwiched between a glass-covered and insulated housing. The sun heats up the collector and circulating air or liquid. See for a good example of a quality collector and for more details on liquid heating solar collectors.
In climates, like Wisconsin’s, subject to freezing temperatures, water is replaced with a glycol solution in solar liquid heating collector systems. This prevents any chance of damage due to freezing.

Presently with most renewable energy systems the initial cost of a solar heating system will be more than the conventional gas, oil or electric systems. However a solar thermal heating system does not deplete fossil fuel resources or produce the pollution that conventional systems do. The fuel is free.

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See Galleries for a few example systems.