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/.

INSTALLATION CONSIDERATIONS

Builders who expect to install a solar system, whether during new construction or at a future date, should design and orient the home to provide at least one roof section with an unshaded, south-facing roof slope suitable for a solar array.

According to Coley Fudge of Alteris Renewables, a Vermont-based company that installs solar equipment from a number of manufacturers, roof pitch is another important factor, but it doesn’t limit a builder’s or homeowner’s options. In the Northeast, he explains, “a 45-degree roof angle is ideal, but in summer it doesn’t really matter—you’re going to get 100% [of solar radiation] from a 30- to 40-degree slope. In summer, the ideal angle is only 32 degrees.” Alternatively, roof mounts may be used to improve the collector position on less-than-optimum roof pitches, and solar arrays can be installed on ground-mounted racks when necessary.

Builders also should consider roughing-in the pipes and wiring for solar systems to be installed later, or at least installing a chase for these lines. For the plumbing, Alteris recommends using ¾-inch-diameter copper tubing, and recommends against using plastic or PEX-type tubing.

Although the sun rises every day, it is not reliable as the sole source of hot water in most geographic locations. Building and plumbing codes recognize this and dictate that a fuel-fired heater be provided to support 100% of a home’s hot water needs, regardless of whether a solar-heating system will be added. As a result, solar thermal systems are sized to supplement, not replace, a home’s own water heater. Solar manufacturers are just beginning to adapt their products to satisfy the code demands. One recently introduced system, Caleffi’s Solarie Solar Heat Pump, eliminates the need for a separate water heater by including a backup gas or electric heating element in its storage tank to provide hot water when the sun cannot.

Buyers should beware that, in order to qualify for federal and most state incentives, the key components of all solar systems—the solar collectors—must meet industry certification standards. The most widely accepted certification is bestowed by the SRCC, which tests and approves solar equipment and systems based on ASHRAE standards. Another third-party organization, IAPMO R&T, certifies equipment according to ANSI standards.

Installing solar water heaters qualifies homes for points under most green certification programs. LEED for Homes offers two points for backup systems accommodating more than 40% of the annual load and three points for systems that account for 60% or more. The ANSI National Green Building Standard awards points (from eight to 20) toward certification for solar water heaters on a scale tied to their SRCC Solar Energy Factor rating.

Michael Morris is a freelance writer in Ossining, N.Y.