Solar Hot WAter
Let the sun heat your water for free!Solar energy systems work very well in conjunction with radiant floor heat this is because radiant floor heat is a low temperature form of heat usually operating at temperatures below 120. Solar hot water systems require a water-filled storage tank that absorbs heat from the sun via the solar collectors during the daytime and releases the heat to the house as it is needed. As a rule, the heat is absorbed during the peak sun hours of the day (10 am to 4:00 pm) and is distributed mainly at night when outdoor temperatures are the lowest. If one were to use a form of heat that requires high water temperatures (160 to 190) such as a radiator, it would not be long into the night before the storage tank would be drawn down too low to be of any use. However, with radiant floor heat, the tank can be drawn all the way down to 120 before it is no longer useful. A further benefit is that the cooler tank will be able to absorb more heat from the sun the next day. A digital outdoor reset control can be used to further maximize solar input by regulating the supply water temperature to the lowest possible setting to still satisfy the load.

      Solar energy works very well in Western North Carolina. This is because of the basic pattern of weather cycles in this part of the country. When a cold front blows in, it is usually preceded by two or three days of precipitation, then the skies clear up, the nights are very cold and the days are bright and sunny, gradually the temperatures begin to rise and conditions grow more hazy until the next cold front blows in with a bit of precipitation before it. What this boils down to is that the coldest days are usually the clearest. These are ideal conditions for solar energy.

     

We offer 2 types of collectors: Standard flat plate collectors that typically  come in 4x8 or 4x10 sizing  ( AET, Wagner Solar & SolarHot ) . Vacuum collectors that are 6- 7 feet high and come in widths of multiples of 3 ft. (Thermomax  & Sunda ). For storage tanks we use tanks from Heat Transfer Products, Rheem, Wagner Solar, or large diameter custom solar tanks.

      Solar systems are not inexpensive - solar components, solar collectors in particular, are exposed to extreme temperature swings every day, they must also withstand rain, hail ice, extreme heat and cold , extreme wind, lightning, ultraviolet degradation and other assaults of nature and they must do this for 20 to 30 years with no deterioration. This requires specialized glass, aluminum extrusions, specially coated copper absorber plates and other carefully engineered materials and hardware.

      As a rule, a 2 collector system will supply enough domestic hot water for a family of four. If the solar system is designed to also augment the heating system then even more collectors will need to be added. These additional collectors will increase the solar input in the winter time but will serve no purpose in the summertime, that is, they increase the cost of the system, but they only work part-time. This is why it is important that not too many collectors be added to a system. In a well-designed heating/solar system, solar energy provides for almost all the domestic hot water needs all year round, most of the space heating needs in the spring and fall and about half the heating requirement in the dead of winter. The rest of heating demand must be met with a backup form of heat such as a hot water boiler or waterstove.

      Most residential solar systems will pay for themselves in 5 to 7 years(commercial systems even less); after that, all energy harvested by a system is free and the savings grow greater each year as the cost of energy increases. Furthermore, the state of North Carolina has one of the best solar energy support systems in the country. There is a solar center in Raleigh (ph: 1-800-NCSUN, website: ncsc.ncsu.edu   and a 35% state tax solar credit and 30% federal solar tax credit (See tax credit page for more info). If a homeowner installs a heating system with solar augmentation, the solar tax credit applies to both the solar system and the heating system.

     The solar center has publications and on-line articles that address almost every aspect of solar energy. Particularly important is location and orientation of the house, the roof design, and the energy integrity of the house.

      Each of our  systems are custom designed according to the individual requirements of each house and therefore pricing guidelines are not applicable.