What is Solar Thermal Energy?
Solar Thermal energy is often overlooked as a renewable energy technology, despite its affordability and efficiency. Solar thermal technology produces heat energy, as opposed to solar photovoltaic (PV) which produces electricity. Solar thermal systems can be designed to provide space heating in addition to domestic hot water. It is noteworthy that solar hot water collectors can tolerate more shading than solar PV systems. As always, locating the panels to optimize their orientation to the sun will maximize the efficiency of any solar energy system.
Multiple Systems and Integration
Clean Energy Design provides a decade of expertise with integrating solar hot water systems into homes and businesses, both new construction as well as existing buildings. We’ve even taken some locations right of the grid creating complete self-sufficiency. Here are the systems we focus on:
Simple Domestic Solar Hot Water: A simple domestic hot water system is the most cost effective and efficient renewable energy technology and can tolerate some less than optimal siting conditions, such as shallow roof slopes. A typical simple domestic solar hot water system has two to three 4’ by 8’ collectors and utilizes food grade propylene glycol as a heat transfer fluid with a simple, easy to install pipe run, which transfers heat to your existing or a supplemental hot water storage tank. A system such as this can provide 40%-70% of an average households domestic water heating needs.
Domestic Solar Hot Water Plus: This type of system typically consists of three to five 4’ by 8’ collectors coupled with a larger hot water storage tank. Although is the installation is more complex, it allows the benefit of deriving some extra heat from the system to provide some supplemental heating.
Solar Heating Integrated: These systems are designed to utilize a larger array of solar thermal collectors along with a large thermal storage tank to provide a significant offset to the heating load of the home. If you are planning to use your solar thermal system to provide heat, does the south facing roof have a pitch of 10/12 to 12/12 to allow for optimal solar gain in the winter? What type of heat delivery system are you planning? If you are intending to use your thermal system to provide space heat, it is best to consider either forced hot air system or radiant floor heating.
Solar Radiant Floor Heat: These systems pump heated water from a storage tank through tubing laid in a pattern underneath the floor. An individual thermostat regulates the flow of heated water through a solenoid valve and manifold to each room in the house. The thermal mass of the floor acts as both a solar thermal storage battery and a heat sink. Our solar space-heating systems pump the heated liquid to a storage tank. The water in the tank is then pumped through the radiant floor piping. This type of solar radiant floor heating system uses a heat exchanger for supplemental heat. This system provides much greater heat storage capacity and better control over floor temperature.
Clean Energy Design enjoys a partnerships with the radiant heating industry leaders to ensure the latest in design, technology and materials are always used.
Solar Pool Heat: You can significantly reduce swimming pool heating costs by installing a solar pool heater. They’re cost competitive with both gas and heat pump pool heaters, and they have very low annual operating costs. Solar pool heating is the most cost-effective use of solar energy in many climates. Solar pool heating systems use both direct and diffuse solar radiation. Therefore, even if you don’t live in a climate that’s warm and sunny most of the time, your site still might have an adequate solar resource.