Solar Thermal Systems

Solar hot-water systems work in tandem with your building’s existing gas or electric water-heating system to turn energy from sunshine into heat for hot water. These systems can easily supply half (or more) of the hot water needs of the typical Wisconsin home or business and can be used to heat residential, business, community pools, or water for industrial purposes such as sanitation or brewing. A rapidly growing and proven application, solar heated water can be used in conjunction with new or existing radiant heating systems as well to supplement or eliminate the need for conventionally fueled heating processes as a primary heat source. The ROI and payback time frame is the best of all of the above applications and they are efficient, reliable, and well proven for use in Wisconsin and the Midwestern cold climate.

Diagram of how solar thermal works

These systems collect Solar energy through specialized panels heating a food-safe glycol transfer fluid. Piping then moves the fluid through a heat exchanging coil within a tank similar to your hot water heater. Cold water from your water supply or existing hot-water heater is then circulated through your heat exchanger tank to pre-heat/heat your domestic hot water and then to your existing hot water heater for use or storage. Your existing hot water heating tank essentially becomes a storage tank for your hot water and back-up heater when your sun resources are not sufficient to keep your water temperature at your desired setting. This set-up can also be diverted to provide supplemental heating to hot-water space heating systems with your regular hot water supply taking precedence. Because hot water systems produce heat year round you may generate excess heat from your collectors which must be “dumped” when not in demand especially in the summer months. This can be achieved in various methods such as hot-tubs, swimming pools, and high mass sand beds. Some, or all, of your panels can also be covered if there is extreme fluctuation in your hot-water needs, especially from summer to winter.