Launch Slideshow

Caleffi. The SRCCcertified Solarie Solar Heat Pump is an allinone collector and storage tank system that eliminates the need for a separate backup water heater. Using demineralized water instead of refrigerant liquid as a heat exchanger it pumps the water to its rooftop collectors only when sunlight is available then drains the water to the holding tank during sunless periods. This prevents the system from freezing or overheating even during power failures. When needed water is heated automatically by a backup electric element or gas burner built into the tank. 414.238.2360. www.caleffi.us.

9 Solar Hot Water Heaters

Take a look at the different types and incentives for solar hot water.

9 Solar Hot Water Heaters

Take a look at the different types and incentives for solar hot water.

  • Viessmann. The Vitosol 200T vacuumtube system for residential or commercial installations offers versatility for horizontal or vertical mounting options in roof wall or freestanding installations. Directflow solar collectors have soltitaniumcoated copper absorbers thick borosilicate tubes and permanently vacuumsealed glassmetal joints. Plugin connectors allow for tube rotation up to 25 degrees to optimize collector placement on most sites. Up to 150 tubes can be connected in series. It includes the SRCC label. 800.288.0667. www.viessmannus.com.

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    Viessmann. The Vitosol 200T vacuumtube system for residential or commercial installations offers versatility for horizontal or vertical mounting options in roof wall or freestanding installations. Directflow solar collectors have soltitaniumcoated copper absorbers thick borosilicate tubes and permanently vacuumsealed glassmetal joints. Plugin connectors allow for tube rotation up to 25 degrees to optimize collector placement on most sites. Up to 150 tubes can be connected in series. It includes the SRCC label. 800.288.0667. www.viessmannus.com.

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    Viessmann. The Vitosol 200-T vacuum-tube system for residential or commercial installations offers versatility for horizontal or vertical mounting options in roof, wall, or freestanding installations. Direct-flow solar collectors have sol-titanium-coated copper absorbers, thick borosilicate tubes, and permanently vacuum-sealed glass-metal joints. Plug-in connectors allow for tube rotation up to 25 degrees to optimize collector placement on most sites. Up to 150 tubes can be connected in series. It includes the SRCC label. 800.288.0667. http://www.viessmann-us.com/.

  • Kingspan. SRCCcertified Solar in a Box packages of Thermomax solar thermal systems are available direct to contractors or through area distributors. Each package is designed for a typical household size and contains all parts materials and equipment needed for installation and operation in all U.S. geographical locations. The kits offer a choice of highperformance vacuumtube or flatpanel solar collectors. 410.799.6600. www.kingspansolar.com.

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    Kingspan. SRCCcertified Solar in a Box packages of Thermomax solar thermal systems are available direct to contractors or through area distributors. Each package is designed for a typical household size and contains all parts materials and equipment needed for installation and operation in all U.S. geographical locations. The kits offer a choice of highperformance vacuumtube or flatpanel solar collectors. 410.799.6600. www.kingspansolar.com.

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    Kingspan. SRCC-certified “Solar in a Box” packages of Thermomax solar thermal systems are available direct to contractors or through area distributors. Each package is designed for a typical household size and contains all parts, materials, and equipment needed for installation and operation in all U.S. geographical locations. The kits offer a choice of high-performance vacuum-tube or flat-panel solar collectors. 410.799.6600. http://www.kingspansolar.com/.

  • Stiebel Eltron. A trio of one two or threecollector SolKit solar water heating packages are available to meet the needs of most households. The SRCClabeled ceramicmetalcoated collectors feature anodized aluminum enclosures and lowiron tempered glazing for optimum performance and long service life. The 80 and 108gallon tanks have dual heat exchangers and are wrapped in 3 inches of insulation for very low standby heat losses. Each package comes complete with collector pump and controller but piping is not included. 800.582.8423. www.stiebeleltronusa.com.

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    Stiebel Eltron. A trio of one two or threecollector SolKit solar water heating packages are available to meet the needs of most households. The SRCClabeled ceramicmetalcoated collectors feature anodized aluminum enclosures and lowiron tempered glazing for optimum performance and long service life. The 80 and 108gallon tanks have dual heat exchangers and are wrapped in 3 inches of insulation for very low standby heat losses. Each package comes complete with collector pump and controller but piping is not included. 800.582.8423. www.stiebeleltronusa.com.

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    Stiebel Eltron. A trio of one-, two-, or three-collector SolKit solar water heating packages are available to meet the needs of most households. The SRCC-labeled ceramic/metal-coated collectors feature anodized aluminum enclosures and low-iron tempered glazing for optimum performance and long service life. The 80- and 108-gallon tanks have dual heat exchangers and are wrapped in 3 inches of insulation for very low standby heat losses. Each package comes complete with collector, pump, and controller, but piping is not included. 800.582.8423. http://www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com/.

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    EarthNet Energy. Because not all rooftops are suitable for solar collector placement, the company offers a Ground Mount Pedestal mounting system adaptable to most types of flat-panel and evacuated-tube solar collectors. The heavy duty, powder-coated-steel pedestals are available in 5-foot-tall bolt-mount or 7-foot-tall direct-burial models. The company also manufactures complete evacuated-tube and flat-panel solar collector systems. 717.414.7652. http://www.earthnetenergy.net/.

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    EnerWorks. Designed for climates where temperatures remain above 27 degrees F, the Focus Pre-Heat Appliance pipes potable water through roof-, rack-, or wall-mounted collectors to the home’s storage tank. The system includes an Energy Station that automatically calculates the amount of heating oil, gas, or electricity saved as well as cost savings, and a wireless portable SolarView Monitor allows homeowners to track system performance. This system also can be configured to provide secondary applications such as pool heating and space heating. The product carries SRCC and IAPMO certifications. 877.268.6502.
    http://www.enerworks.com/.

  • Caleffi. The SRCCcertified Solarie Solar Heat Pump is an allinone collector and storage tank system that eliminates the need for a separate backup water heater. Using demineralized water instead of refrigerant liquid as a heat exchanger it pumps the water to its rooftop collectors only when sunlight is available then drains the water to the holding tank during sunless periods. This prevents the system from freezing or overheating even during power failures. When needed water is heated automatically by a backup electric element or gas burner built into the tank. 414.238.2360. www.caleffi.us.

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    Caleffi. The SRCCcertified Solarie Solar Heat Pump is an allinone collector and storage tank system that eliminates the need for a separate backup water heater. Using demineralized water instead of refrigerant liquid as a heat exchanger it pumps the water to its rooftop collectors only when sunlight is available then drains the water to the holding tank during sunless periods. This prevents the system from freezing or overheating even during power failures. When needed water is heated automatically by a backup electric element or gas burner built into the tank. 414.238.2360. www.caleffi.us.

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    Caleffi. The SRCC-certified Solarie Solar Heat Pump is an all-in-one collector and storage tank system that eliminates the need for a separate backup water heater. Using demineralized water instead of refrigerant liquid as a heat exchanger, it pumps the water to its rooftop collectors only when sunlight is available, then drains the water to the holding tank during sunless periods. This prevents the system from freezing or overheating, even during power failures. When needed, water is heated automatically by a backup electric element or gas burner built into the tank. 414.238.2360. http://www.caleffi.us/.

  • Rheem. SRCClabeled Solaraide passive solar water heating systems operate without pumps or controllers. A closedloop indirect heat exchange design wraps completely around the units roofmounted thermosiphon exchange tank for optimum efficiency. Single or double flatplate collectors in 47 or 80gallon capacity include multiflow risers that transfer heat rapidly and provide heated potable water directly to the homes existing or backup water heater. The company also makes SolPak active solar thermal systems and storage tanks. 800.621.5622. www.rheem.com.

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    Rheem. SRCClabeled Solaraide passive solar water heating systems operate without pumps or controllers. A closedloop indirect heat exchange design wraps completely around the units roofmounted thermosiphon exchange tank for optimum efficiency. Single or double flatplate collectors in 47 or 80gallon capacity include multiflow risers that transfer heat rapidly and provide heated potable water directly to the homes existing or backup water heater. The company also makes SolPak active solar thermal systems and storage tanks. 800.621.5622. www.rheem.com.

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    Rheem. SRCC-labeled Solaraide passive solar water heating systems operate without pumps or controllers. A closed-loop, indirect heat exchange design wraps completely around the unit’s roof-mounted thermo-siphon exchange tank for optimum efficiency. Single or double flat-plate collectors in 47- or 80-gallon capacity include multiflow risers that transfer heat rapidly and provide heated potable water directly to the home’s existing or backup water heater. The company also makes SolPak active solar thermal systems and storage tanks. 800.621.5622. http://www.rheem.com/.

  • Velux. Known in the U.S. for skylights and roof windows Velux has been manufacturing flatplate solar systems worldwide for more than 15 years. The SRCCcertified Integrated Collector Systems now available here can be installed directly onto the roof deck for a lowprofile appearance using a flashing system that covers all mounting hardware. One two or threecollector systems with 60 80 or 120gallon insulated storage tanks are available. 800.283.2831. www.veluxusa.comsolar.

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    Velux. Known in the U.S. for skylights and roof windows Velux has been manufacturing flatplate solar systems worldwide for more than 15 years. The SRCCcertified Integrated Collector Systems now available here can be installed directly onto the roof deck for a lowprofile appearance using a flashing system that covers all mounting hardware. One two or threecollector systems with 60 80 or 120gallon insulated storage tanks are available. 800.283.2831. www.veluxusa.comsolar.

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    Velux. Known in the U.S. for skylights and roof windows, Velux has been manufacturing flat-plate solar systems worldwide for more than 15 years. The SRCC-certified Integrated Collector Systems now available here can be installed directly onto the roof deck for a low-profile appearance using a flashing system that covers all mounting hardware. One-, two-, or three-collector systems with 60-, 80-, or 120-gallon insulated storage tanks are available. 800.283.2831. www.veluxusa.com/solar.

  • Bradford White. EcoStor SC hot water storage tanks are optimized for use with most solar water heating collector systems. For maximum efficiency the units heating elements activate only when solar energy does not satisfy demand. The tanks feature an internal singlewall heat exchanger dual 5500watt or single 4500watt backup heating elements glasslined carbon steel heat exchanger cells and linings foam insulation and dual aluminum anodes for extralong service life. Three tank models with 60 to 115gallon capacities are available. 800.523.2931. www.bradfordwhite.com.

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    Bradford White. EcoStor SC hot water storage tanks are optimized for use with most solar water heating collector systems. For maximum efficiency the units heating elements activate only when solar energy does not satisfy demand. The tanks feature an internal singlewall heat exchanger dual 5500watt or single 4500watt backup heating elements glasslined carbon steel heat exchanger cells and linings foam insulation and dual aluminum anodes for extralong service life. Three tank models with 60 to 115gallon capacities are available. 800.523.2931. www.bradfordwhite.com.

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    Bradford White. EcoStor SC hot water storage tanks are optimized for use with most solar water heating collector systems. For maximum efficiency, the units’ heating elements activate only when solar energy does not satisfy demand. The tanks feature an internal single-wall heat exchanger, dual 5,500-watt or single 4,500-watt backup heating elements, glass-lined carbon steel heat exchanger cells and linings, foam insulation, and dual aluminum anodes for extra-long service life. Three tank models with 60- to 115-gallon capacities are available. 800.523.2931. http://www.bradfordwhite.com/.

With today’s high fuel costs, tax incentives and rebates, rapidly increasing product options, and growing consumer demand, there has never been a better time to add a solar water heater to a new or existing home.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a home’s domestic water heating costs should drop by 50% to 80% with the installation of a properly sized solar thermal system. Installed costs for typical residential solar water heaters begin at around $5,000, and they qualify for the 30% federal tax credit currently available, as well as for state and local incentives, where available.

Given these offsets, manufacturers claim that a system can recoup its initial cost in as little as three years, but the payback period varies widely depending on the home’s average DHW consumption, local energy prices, geographic location, and other factors, such as whether natural gas, propane (LP), oil, or electricity is used to heat the home’s water.

TYPES OF SOLAR HOT WATER

There are two basic types of solar thermal systems:

“Passive” systems require no pumps or electricity to operate, relying instead on natural thermo-siphon action driven by the temperature differential between the solar collectors and the water inside the storage tank. Because these systems circulate the home’s actual domestic water, they are mainly used in areas where temperatures stay well above freezing.

“Active” solar thermal systems use a differentially controlled pump to circulate freeze-protected fluid, such as glycol, up to the collectors and back to the holding tank through closed-loop heat-exchange tubing, which transfers the fluid’s heat to the home’s domestic water. For maximum energy efficiency, some systems use a small photovoltaic panel mounted with the collectors to power their pumps.

Sun-heated water is not difficult to produce, and the solar collectors available today have changed little in form and function from those developed over the past 50 years. The most common, and typically least expensive, type are flat-plate collectors, which circulate water or fluid through serpentine rows of copper tubing arrayed against a heat-absorbing surface. Average efficiency ratings—the ability to convert sunlight to usable heat energy—for flat-plate solar collectors can reach 80%.

In recent years, manufacturers have increased the efficiency of flat-plate collectors by adding better insulation, heat-retaining glazing, heat-absorbing coatings on the collector plates, and other high-performance features. The low-profile collectors introduced by Velux in 2008, for example, have a complex, computer-designed pattern stamped into the absorber plate surface that refracts solar radiation to increase heat absorption and reduce heat loss from reflectivity.

Evacuated—vacuum—tube solar thermal collectors, the main alternative to flat-plate collectors, collect and transfer heat energy through a series of insulated glass tubes purged to a near-perfect vacuum. Evacuated tubes are growing in popularity because they offer higher heat transfer—manufacturers claim up to 99% efficiency—and are better at capturing solar radiation where site conditions do not allow placing the collector units at an optimum angle toward the sun. This is especially important in cold-weather locations. However, evacuated-tube systems have a higher initial cost, are more susceptible to snow and ice accumulation that limits performance, are at risk for vacuum loss, and are bulkier in design, which many homeowners and communities dislike.

Comparing solar product performance is difficult because it is based on not only the equipment itself but also on the geographic and site conditions where it is installed. The best comparative tool available would probably be the test ratings published by the Solar Rating and Certification Corp. (SRCC) for solar water heater components and systems. These ratings are the basis for obtaining points toward green home certification under the National Green Building Standard.