Solar Thermal (Hot Water)
If you’ve ever left a cool beverage out on a sunny day, you understand how quickly the sun heats up liquids. A Solar Thermal, or Solar Hot Water system simply takes advantage of that effect to heat water for your home.
At SunBug, our Solar Thermal systems use three main components: solar heat collector panels on your roof, a hot water storage tank in your basement, and SunWatch Monitor that lets you monitor system performance.
Solar Thermal panels
In a Solar Thermal system, the array of panels on your roof is relatively small, usually a pair of solar thermal panels can provide enough hot water for household of four. Inside the panels, a fluid called glycol passes through a series of tubes, heated by the sun’s energy. The glycol is pumped in a continuous closed-system loop to your basement where it reaches a solar thermal tank. There, a heat exchanger extracts the heat from the glycol to heat water. The water in the solar thermal tank can get quite hot, up to 120 degrees, and is ready for use.
Solar Thermal tank
A solar thermal tank looks remarkably like a conventional hot water tank, and we generally install it adjacent to your existing tank. The solar tank feeds into your existing tank, so instead of heating up the cold water that comes in from the water company, you consume water heated by the sun. There is no threat of running out of hot water, as even in the case of an extended period of consistently cloudy weather your traditional hot water tank will come on to cover supply.
The most important benefit of this tank arrangement is significantly reduced utility bills for making hot water. A lesser considered benefit is that your traditional hot water tank only supplements the solar thermal system, so it is used far more infrequently and therefore lasts longer.