Save money, energy, and the environment with solar heating
Statistics show that a solar thermal system can cut water heating expenses by as much as 80%.
The terms solar heating and solar thermal heating are sometimes used interchangeably. It’s more accurate to say that solar thermal is one type of solar heating system. A solar thermal system uses the solar energy to heat water that can be used for heating, washing or both.
Dr. Energy Saver can service your solar thermal system to ensure maximum efficiency. We will also provide a free quote for installing a new solar thermal system that can cut your water heating expenses by up to 80%.
We are your trusted resource for solar heating in Eau Claire, Saint Paul, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Chippewa Falls, Prescott, Houlton, Farmington, Rosemount, Menomonie, Hudson, River Falls, and the surrounding cities and towns within Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The basic anatomy of a typical solar thermal system isn’t difficult to understand. The sun heats an anti-freeze solution in a solar collector. When the liquid in the collector reaches a preset temperature, it is pumped down to a heat exchanger located inside a hot water tank.
If the water stored in the tank isn’t sufficiently warmed by the heat exchanger, an auxiliary heater (electric or gas) can make up the difference until the water is hot enough to use. On a sunny day, no auxiliary heat may be necessary. At other times, electricity or gas may have to provide all the energy to heat the water.
A solar thermal system can be sized and designed to only heat water used for washing, or to provide hot water as part of a hydronic heating system.
Passive solar heating
The simplest way to use the solar energy to reduce heating costs is to apply passive solar heating concepts. These include having a generous number of south-facing Windows to admit winter sunlight into the living space, and utilizing thermal mass to store and radiate solar heat. A dark tile or masonry floor does a good job of absorbing and storing solar heat. Providing that the house is well insulated, a high-mass floor can remain warm for hours after the sun goes down with this home heating system.
Obviously, incorporating passive solar heating features into a house is much easier to do when a new house is being designed. But if your house has good southern exposure on one side, you could consider taking advantage of this solar exposure by installing new insulated Windows and perhaps a tile floor that can be warmed by the sun.
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Call 1-888-370-6924 or contact us online to schedule a home heating system inspection and solar heating estimate. We also offer a comprehensive home energy audit.
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Cities in Anoka County, MNAndoverAnokaBethelBlaineCentervilleCircle PinesColumbia HeightsCoon RapidsEast BethelFridleyHam LakeLexingtonLino LakesOak GroveRamseySaint Francis
Cities in Carver County, MNCarverChanhassenChaskaVictoriaWaconia
Cities in Chisago County, MNCenter CityChisago CityLindstromNorth BranchRush CityStacyTaylors FallsWyoming
Cities in Dakota County, MNApple ValleyEaganInver Grove HeightsLakevilleLilydaleMendotaNorthfieldRandolphRosemountSouth Saint PaulSunfish LakeVermillionWest Saint Paul
Cities in Goodhue County, MNCannon FallsRed Wing
Cities in Hennepin County, MNBloomingtonBrooklyn CenterBrooklyn ParkChamplinCorcoranCrystal BayDaytonDeephavenEden PrairieEdinaExcelsiorGolden ValleyGreenfieldHanoverHopkinsIndependenceLong LakeLorettoMaple GroveMaple PlainMedicine LakeMedinaMinneapolisMinnestristaMinnetonkaMinnetonka BeachMoundNew HopeOronoOsseoPlymouthRichfieldRobbinsdaleRockfordRogersSaint AnthonySaint BonifaciusSaint Louis ParkShorewoodSpring ParkTonka BayWayzataWoodland
Cities in Ramsey County, MNArden HillsFalcon HeightsLauderdaleLittle CanadaMaplewoodMounds ViewNew BrightonNorth OaksNorth Saint PaulRosevilleSaint PaulShoreviewSpring Lake ParkVadnais Heights
Cities in Scott County, MNPrior LakeSavageShakopee
Cities in Washington County, MNAftonBayportCottage GroveForest LakeHastingsHugoLake ElmoLake Saint Croix BeachLakelandLandfallMahtomediMarine On Saint CroixNewportOak Park HeightsOakdalePine SpringsSaint Marys PointSaint Paul ParkScandiaStillwaterWhite Bear LakeWoodbury
Cities in Barron County, WIBarronCameronChetekCumberlandDallasHaugenNew AuburnPrairie FarmRice LakeTurtle Lake
Cities in Buffalo County, WIMondovi
Cities in Burnett County, WIGrantsburgSirenWebster
Cities in Chippewa County, WIBloomerBoydCadottChippewa FallsCornellLake HallieStanley
Cities in Dunn County, WIBoycevilleColfaxDowningElk MoundKnappMenomonieRidgelandWheeler
Cities in Eau Claire County, WIAltoonaAugustaEau ClaireFairchildFall Creek
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Cities in Pierce County, WIBay CityEllsworthElmwoodMaiden RockPlum CityPrescottRiver FallsSpring Valley
Cities in Polk County, WIBalsam LakeCenturiaClaytonClear LakeDresserFredericLuckMilltownOsceolaSaint Croix Falls
Cities in Saint Croix County, WIBaldwinDeer ParkGlenwood CityHammondHudsonNew RichmondRobertsSomersetWilsonWoodville
Cities in St. Croix County, WINorth HudsonStar Prairie
Solar Hot Water
If you’ve ever felt warm water flow from a garden hose that’s been stretched across a sunny lawn, you know how solar water heating works. And if you’ve ever paid a fuel or electric bill, you can understand why using the sun’s rays to warm water is a good idea. Up to 25 percent of a household utility bill goes to heating water for washing clothes, dishes, and ourselves. A solar hot-water system can reduce those costs by two thirds—without using any fossil fuels or causing any pollution. You don’t even need to live in a sunny climate to take advantage of this infinitely renewable source of free power. Thanks to advances in solar-collector technology, these systems have become practical even in places where the sky is gray more often than blue.
The basic setup consists of a heat-trapping solar collector sitting outdoors in an open, south-facing location—usually up on the roof—and a water-storage tank inside the house. In cold climates, a pump circulates an antifreeze-laced liquid through a closed loop of pipe connecting the rooftop array and the tank. A submerged coil inside the tank transfers the heat from the sun-warmed liquid to the household water supply. (In frost-free zones, potable water can be heated directly by the collector.)
Collectors come in two main types. The most popular are the so-called flat-plate collectors: insulated glass boxes with copper pipes attached to heat-trapping “absorber sheets.” Under ideal conditions, they can produce 150-degree water, well above the 125-degree water in a typical water heater. efficient tube-type collectors encapsulate the absorber sheets and pipes in glass vacuum tubes for maximum insulating effect ( see slide 2 at left: Collecting Heat in a Vacuum). They can heat water up to 200 degrees. And because tubes can capture heat when the sun is not directly overhead and even on cloudy days, you don’t need a big array to get a lot of hot water. The downside is that they cost twice as much as flat plates.
Still, no matter how well a collector performs or how perfectly it’s placed, there’s no getting around the fact that it relies on an energy source that only works part-time. “You can never meet the demand exactly, because you can’t turn on the sun when you need it,” says Robert Waters of Viessmann, a manufacturer of solar thermal systems. In the some parts of the United States, solar panels might provide as much as 95 percent of a household’s hot water in summer, but as little as 20 percent in winter. And unlike solar-generated electricity, which can be stored in batteries or sold back to the power company, hot water is a fleeting asset; even a well-insulated storage tank turns cold after a few overcast days. That’s why virtually all solar hot-water systems are supplements to, rather than replacements for, conventional water heaters.
As is often the case, it costs money to save money. A typical setup for a family of four, with an 80-gallon storage tank, runs about 5,000, plus another 2,000 or so for installation. But compared with photovoltaic cells or wind generators, the payback periods are relatively quick—as little as five years, depending on local energy costs and state subsidies. (That factors in the current federal investment tax credit for 30 percent of the cost of a solar thermal system, up to 2,000.) Solar hot-water systems are also fairly easy to retrofit in existing homes. The solar-heated storage tank is simply linked to the existing hot-water tank, which switches on only when water from the collector falls below the water heater’s temperature setting. In new homes, a single tank can be heated by both solar collectors and gas or electricity. Either way, you can take your hot-water savings to the bank. Or you can hop in the shower and sing a longer song.
Solar Heating—and Cooling, too
Some solar systems can supplement hydronic (hot-water) heating systems, but don’t expect the same kind of efficiencies or payback as with solar collectors that just supply domestic hot water. That’s because these systems are expensive, and the highest demand for heat comes during the darkest months of the year. The most benefit comes in the shoulder seasons, spring and fall, when solar hydronics can supply 20 percent of the total annual heating load.
A more promising application, still in development, is using solar-heated water to drive chillers, cooling systems without compressors. It’s a tantalizing concept because solar output peaks at the same time as AC use. The challenge has been to design small-scale residential chillers that can run at the lower fluid temperatures that a solar array can produce.
Solar System Tear Sheet
What It is: A way to supplement the supply of domestic hot water using the energy of the sun.
How It Works: Fluid flowing through an outdoor collector captures the sun’s heat and carries it indoors to a storage tank.
Why You’d Want One: Cuts the cost of hot water by two-thirds as it reduces reliance on fossil fuels. Produces no greenhouse gases.
What to Look For:
Closed loop system: Circulates freeze-proof fluid through the system without touching potable water.
Open-loop system: Circulates potable water. Only practical in frost-free climates.
SRCC Approved: Solar Rating and Certification Corporation independently certifies and rates the efficiency of solar hot-water systems.
What It Costs: 5,000 to 9,000 installed, depending on size and type. Tax credits and utility incentives may offset some costs, if the system is SRCC certified.
Solar Thermal Hot Water Systems and Individual Components
Stiebel Eltron has been designing solar thermal systems for 40 years. Because every installation is different, we have a full line of SOLkits, mounting hardware, and the individual components necessary for solar thermal installations. We are committed to making and supplying the best solar thermal components available. We’ve been at the forefront of water heating technology for over 95 years. As a leader in the field we have no intention of standing still.
Why Solar Thermal?
The cost to make hot water is the largest utility expense for a household. The average is about 20% of household energy for just domestic hot water (cooking, cleaning, bathing). This jumps to about 50% if hot water is also used for heating. It makes sense to save as much as possible on hot water, which is exactly what solar thermal can do.
Solar thermal has been used to capture the power of the sun and turn it into hot water for decades before solar photovoltaic (PV) became a possibility. Solar thermal is 3 to 5 times as effective in capturing the sun’s power as PV. Solar thermal can save up to 75% off water heating bills. It reduces carbon footprint and increases the property value of a home.
Federal tax credits are in place for 30% of the installed cost of a solar thermal system. State rebates and incentives, as well as local utility incentives, exist in many parts of the country.
How a Solar Thermal System Works
Collectors absorb the sun’s heat energy and transfer it to a heat transfer fluid in the system. A pump moves the hot fluid to a domestic water tank where the heat is transferred to the water through a heat exchanger. The now cool heat transfer fluid circulates back to the collector to gather more heat.
Stiebel Eltron has been designing and manufacturing solar thermal components for 40 years. Like all of Stiebel Eltron’s products, our solar components are carefully engineered. They are designed to work both individually and system-wide to bring you the best in performance and reliability.
Explore a Live Solar Thermal Installation
You can interact with a live Stiebel Eltron solar thermal installation in real-time to learn more about how our system functions.
Systems to Meet Any Needs
Solar thermal systems can be tailored to meet just about any need or existing mechanical situation. The diagrams show three common solar thermal installations. Many components of a solar thermal system are universal to all systems.
Solar Thermal Collectors Absorbs energy from the sun, converting it into heat.
Heat Transfer Fluid A propylene glycol food- and pharmaceutical-grade fluid that holds and transfers heat from the collectors to the tank. The heat transfer fluid is freeze-proof for cold nights.
Pump Station Moves the heat transfer fluid around the system.
DHW Storage Tank The internal heat exchanger transfers the heat from the heat transfer fluid to the domestic hot water the tank holds. A backup heating element keeps the tank hot when the sun isn’t shining.
Controller An electronic device that controls the operation of the pump and the safety of the system.
Backup Options A backup system is used to add additional heat to the household hot water if necessary. This situation can happen, for instance, on a very cloudy day if the solar system can not make enough hot water to satisfy the demand or make it hot enough. The Stiebel Eltron SB E tanks in SOLkits have integral electric backup, but other possible solutions include Stiebel Eltron Tempra ® tankless electric water heaters or existing site-specific backup systems.
SOLkit Water Heating Packages
Stiebel Eltron SOLkits highlight our 40 years of solar thermal experience by combining the best solar components into complete packages. SOLkits come in 1, 2, or 3 panel sizes in up-roof configuration, and 2 or 3 panel sizes across the roof. Selection of the correct kit depends on family size, domestic hot water needs, and space heating needs if required. Our expert service representatives are available by phone or email for assistance and recommendations. Kits come complete with recommended pump station, controller, and tank. A rack kit, and the line set for a particular installation, completes the package, supplying every component needed. Our components are designed for maximum compatibility, ease of installation, and reliability.
Flat Plate Collectors
Stiebel Eltron SOL 27 Premium is a highly efficient solar thermal collector, among the top 10 collectors measured for output by the SRCC. The net absorber surface of over 25 square feet results in a maximum output of 31,300 btu/day per panel (SRCC clear day rating). The SOL 27 Premium features a highly selective absorber coating, low-iron, tempered solar glazing, and very effective insulation around the absorber plate. The internal fluid tubes are copper and the absorber plate is aluminum. The low 3˝ profile of the SOL 27 makes it visually less obtrusive and able to accommodate a variety of architectural and engineering needs.
SOL 27 Premium collectors are available in both Standard (Vertical) and Wide (Horizontal) configurations. Manufacturing in the US for our collectors and racking systems also means we can custom-anodize collector frames and racks to meet specific architectural color requirements.
Evacuated Tube Collectors
Stiebel Eltron’s S-Power solar collectors are engineered and made in Germany. They are three to five times more effective at capturing solar power than photovoltaic (PV) systems. Their latest-technology copper absorber plates are sealed inside single-walled, proprietary glass tubes with an uncompromising vacuum seal. Ideal for conditions where the outside temperatures are low and the demands for thermal energy are high, they are particularly well suited for combination systems where hot water, space heating, and air conditioning are required.
Stiebel Eltron SB 300 400 E DHW tanks are made in our factory in Slovakia. They come in both 80 gallon (300 l) and 110 gallon (400 l) sizes and can serve as a dedicated high-capacity solar storage tank in both residential and commercial installations.
Stiebel Eltron tanks and heat exchangers are made of heavy gauge steel. All surfaces in contact with domestic hot water receive a thick porcelain enamel coating after shot-peening to clean the steel surface. In addition, vessel exteriors receive a light porcelain coating. Two inches of urethane foam insulation ensures that hot water stays hot, and standby heat loss is minimized. Stiebel Eltron SBB tanks are equipped with large sacrificial anodes with wear indicator and an extra-large clean-out port for ease of maintenance.
SB 300 and 400 E storage tanks are equipped with a 3 kW electric heating element to back up the solar production. This heating element is sheathed in a steel cylinder inside the tank, and can be removed and replaced without needing to depressurize and drain the tank.
Auxiliary ports allow for additional installation applications, including boiler backup, split heat pumps, and hydronic applications.
Stiebel Eltron also sells German-made single and dual coil storage tanks without the electric backups.
Stiebel Eltron Controller
The SOM 6 Plus controller is used for all Stiebel Eltron standard solar thermal systems. The controller is equipped with an illuminated system-monitoring display. Adjustment and control of the solar system can be easily carried out through the user-friendly pictograph display. The SOM 6 Plus features 4 temperature sensors, a solar operating hours counter, variable pump speed control, vacation mode, and an industry-standard resol vBus ®.
Other Stiebel Eltron controllers are available for larger residential and commercial systems, including complex commercial systems.
Stiebel Eltron Pump Stations are specially designed for closed loop solar systems. The 3-speed Wilo circulator pump is designed to perfectly integrate with our SOM 6 Plus controller. Pump station piping is high grade brass. Pump stations come preassembled with a steel wall mounting bracket and feature 2 drain valves, brass check valves to prevent thermo-siphoning, integrated flow meter, and include fittings for tank mount as well as NPT adapters. The pump station can be completely isolated from the system, so no draining is necessary during servicing.
Stiebel Eltron’s optional Solarwave DL2 datalogger gives owners remote access via the internet to their solar thermal system. Dashboards are designed for both owners and installers, and include a diagram view for virtual inspection of the system. Installers can manage and control systems remotely and set optional email alarms for notification of performance issues. Remote access reduces on-site cost for service contracts.
Stiebel Eltron mounting systems are made in the U.S. from extruded aluminum. Racks are available in three different configurations: the 45° Rack Kit; the 30-60° Rack Kit, an adaptable rack capable of installations at both 30° 60°; and the Flush Mount Kit. All Rack Kits are available in versions for both Standard (Vertical) or Wide (Horizontal) collectors.
The Flush Mount Kit is used for installations where the roof structure itself is at the proper angle to mount the collectors. The 45° and 30-60° Rack Kits are designed for flat roof installations or for other installations where the existing roof angle is not optimal by itself.
The simple, strong u-channel design of our racks can withstand high wind and heavy snow. Stiebel Eltron mounting systems can be assembled using only two different socket sizes. Additional mounting components, such as hardware, in addition to flush mount and fixed angle racks, are available.
Flush Mount Racks come standard with SOLkits, but the raised rack kits can be specified with any SOLkit order when the need arises.
Solar Thermal Systems in Long Island, NY
When most people think about installing solar solutions for their homes or businesses, they’re thinking about photovoltaic systems. These systems rely on large photovoltaic solar panels to take sunlight and convert it into electricity. However, these systems are not the only solar thermal systems those living in the Long Island, NY area can install on top of their residential or commercial properties.
Solar thermal systems have also become very popular among home and business owners in recent years. Using solar technology that dates back more than a century, solar-powered thermal systems can be used to provide hot water for homes and businesses. Empire Clean Energy Supply can help you set your customers up with a solar water heating system by providing you with everything you’ll need to put one into place in Long Island, NY. These systems can be used to collect heat from sunlight in order to produce hot water, heat, or even electric power in some cases.
How Do Solar Thermal Systems Work?
On the surface, it might seem as though the solar thermal systems available through Empire Clean Energy Supply work the same way that photovoltaic solar systems do. Both systems have panels that go up on a roof in order to absorb solar energy from the sun. Once they collect sunlight, they work in two completely different ways. Photovoltaic systems aim to turn the energy from the sun into electricity, while solar-powered thermal systems make it their mission to generate thermal energy that can be used to heat water up.
A solar water heating system from Empire Clean Energy Supply relies on a series of flat-plate collectors strategically placed on top of a home or business to gather sunlight and turn it into thermal energy. The system also utilizes pumps to push solar fluids, like water or saline, through the collectors so it can take the thermal energy from the sun and deliver it to a water storage tank. Once the thermal energy reaches the tank, it’s able to keep the water inside of it warm without using up any electricity. This water will then take precedence the next time a home or business owner needs hot water so a hot water heater or boiler doesn’t have to be used.
What Equipment Is Needed to Design a Solar Water Heating System?
In order to ensure a solar water heating system in Long Island, NY can do its job, it’s important for installers to outfit homes and businesses with the right equipment. This includes the previously mentioned flat-plate collectors that will need to be placed on top of homes and businesses, preferably on south-facing portions of their roofs. These collectors are insulated and weatherproofed and have a dark absorber plate inside of them that sits beneath a glass cover. They play an integral role in solar thermal systems in Long Island, NY.
Installers also need to be prepared to set up the large water storage tanks that will work in accordance with the collectors to trap thermal energy in the system. Additionally, they need to obtain different moving parts, including pumps and solenoid valves, to get a solar-powered water heating system in Long Island, NY up and running. Since creating solar-powered thermal systems can be a complicated process, installers should always work with a renewable energy distributor like Empire Clean Energy Supply to get the right products for putting a system into place.
The Benefits of Solar Powered Thermal Systems
There are more and more home and business owners in Long Island, NY choosing to install a solar water heating system on their roof these days. They’re doing it because of all the different benefits that come along with using solar power to heat up water inside their residential and commercial properties. As an installer, you can sell home and business owners on solar thermal systems by walking them through the benefits of installing a system.
Some of the biggest benefits of going with a solar-powered water heating system are:
- It’ll provide a home or business with hot water throughout the year, regardless of how hot or cold it might get outside.
- It’ll help to bring down energy bills since it’ll limit how often a hot water heater or boiler needs to be used to heat up water.
- It’ll reduce the carbon dioxide emissions produced by a home or business and lower the carbon footprint of a property.
Solar thermal systems in Long Island, NY can be especially beneficial for buildings that use large amounts of hot water. Apartment complexes, college dormitories, laundromats, and other establishments will see a reduction in their energy costs when a solar water heating system is set up by reputable installers.
Would you like to start offering solar-powered thermal systems to your customers in Long Island, NY? Empire Clean Energy Supply can provide you with the equipment and the expertise you’ll need to do it. From a smaller solar water heating system for a home to a larger solar-powered water heating system for a business, Empire Clean Energy Supply can help you with any size project.
Call Empire Clean Energy Supply at 631-589-4340 for more information on solar thermal systems in Long Island, NY.