Solar thermal systems were historically used for heating water for domestic water purposes, but nowadays we find these systems in farms, commercial and industrial applications. In a solar water heating system, the solar collectors or panels are used to transfer the thermal energy of the sun to a heat transfer fluid. This thermal energy or heat carried by the transfer fluid or the propylene glycol anti-freeze is then transferred to the cold water coming from the water supply network.
A solar thermal system can work with almost any existing hot water heating system. Your existing hot water heater will not have to fire up as often, saving you money on your gas or electric bill. For example, a 2 collector system will heat 80% of the hot water needed for a residence of four people. The solar panel is usually a flat plate collector that consists of a metal box with a glass cover and a black absorber plate at the bottom, or a series of evacuated tubes. Evacuated tube collectors have absorber plates that are metal strips running down the center of each tube. The solar collectors are usually mounted on the roof While the best use of a solar thermal systems is for hot water delivery, these systems can be tied into the space heating system as well. Solar water heating systems can be fabulous investments for businesses with large hot water consumption or where heated water is needed in a manufacturing process including:
- Swimming Pools
- Car Washes
- Multi-unit residential buildings
- Process heating applications
- Dairy farms