A different type of panel is used, called a solar thermal collector. In a solar hot water system, the water (or a fluid called glycol) is pumped from your hot water tank into the solar collector through copper tubing. The collector is very well insulated and painted black to concentrate the sun’s heat. The fluid circulates through the copper pipe and heats up. It is then circulated back to the tank, where a copper coil heat exchanger moves the heat to the water that comes into your home. This kind of system can be used on your home for hot water or for space heating (radiant floors). It can also be used to heat your swimming pool. These systems are highly efficient and will tolerate some shading. In the summer, the water temp in the collector can get as high as 250 degrees. Solar hot water systems for your home also qualify for the 30% federal tax credit and a state rebate in MA. Learn more about solar hot water here.