The short version is that solar hot water heaters gather heat from sunshine and use that heat to create hot water. Solar hot water heating systems can also heat swimming pools to save energy or extend your swimming season.
Here is a diagram of a typical system.
Flat Plate collectors use black backgrounds to gather heat which is then transferred to a non-toxic glycol solution that circulates through the pipes in the collectors. The solution then travels by pipe to a high efficiency hot water storage tank where it heats the water in the tank.
Flat Plate Collectors in Maine
Flat plate solar collectors consist of a thin, dark metal absorber sheet that’s backed by a grid or coil of fluid tubing.
The absorber sheet is sealed inside an insulated casing with a glass or polycarbonate cover.
Fluid is circulated through the tubing, gathering the heat from the metal absorber sheet and transporting it to a super-insulated solar hot water storage tank.
Flat plate solar collectors provide an efficient way to generate domestic hot water and space heating. Flat plate collectors contain a heat transfer fluid that will melt the snow and ice so that the system can get back to work more quickly after a storm.
Sundog offers a variety of flat plate collectors including products by SunEarth and Wagner.
The solar hot water tank stores the hot water produced in the solar hot water panels. In Maine, a quality solar hot water tank is especially important in the winter when our daylight hours decrease. With a well insulated tank, your solar hot water heater will continue to perform well but with a lower quality water tank, the system may not meet your expectations.
For single family homes, our recommended solar hot water tank comes with a lifetime warranty against leaks plus it has a lot of other great features.
It also comes with an energy saving pipe wrap kit which minimizes heat loss to and from the tank. It has a temperature and pressure relief valve to allow excess pressure out of the tank if the water gets too hot. The inner tank is seamless and will never rust or corrode. It has over 2 inches of foam insulation and is made without CFCs or HCFCs. Finally, the outer tank is made from fiberglass for superior strength and durability.