Solar Hot Water

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ACHIEVE RENEWABLE ENERGY, LLC is a full service, wholesale distributor of solar hot water heating products. Achieve provides high quality solar hot water systems, including SunMaxx Solar solar hot water products.

Achieve provides the following services:

  • Solar hot water system planning and design
  • System installation and monitoring
  • System maintenance
  • Administrative support and application for federal, state and utility incentives

For additional information regarding solar hot water and the benefits and incentives for installation of solar hot water at your residence or commercial facility, please contact us toll free at 877-646-9922.

Solar Hot Water Systems

Solar hot water systems collect thermal energy from the sun for either direct heating of water or indirect heating via a heat exchanger. The primary components of a closed loop, solar hot water system include the following:

  • Solar Collectors (evacuated tube or flat plate)
  • Solar Storage Tank(s)
  • Solar Hot Water Heat Exchangers (copper coil, brazed plate)
  • Differential Temperature Controller
  • Solar Hot Water Circulator Pump
  • Expansion Tank
  • Plumbing Components

The main configurations for solar hot water systems are open loop and closed loop. Which system is right for you will depend on your needs, your climate and local plumbing regulations. Achieve will help you select the option that best fits your situation.

Potable water is supplied through the solar collector directly and heated for domestic use. After passing through the solar collector, the hot water is transferred to a storage tank or directly to domestic water fixtures for on-demand use.
Diagram Credit SunMaxx Solar
The solar collector loop is kept separate from the domestic water loop. Domestic water is indirectly heated by a heat exchanger. Closed loop systems are preferred in northern climates where the solar collector loop uses a glycol solution for freeze protection.
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Solar hot water systems can be configured for radiant heating applications including both radiant floor heating loops and baseboard radiant heating
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There are two main types of solar thermal collectors: evacuated tubes and flat plates. Depending on your needs and your climate, each has advantages and disadvantages. Call us at Achieve to discuss your needs.
Evacuated tube solar collectors are the most efficient option in northern climates. This is because the collector tubes are well insulated. The tubes are constructed with a tube within a tube and the space between is evacuated (similar to a thermos bottle). This design allows effective operation in cold conditions. These collectors can overheat in southern climates.
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Advantages

  • Designed to provide maximum performance in colder climates. Evacuated tubes work at temperatures as low as -60 F.
  • Affordable, high return on investment.
  • Design allows system to maintain operation even if one or more tubes are broken or fail. You replace the tube, not the entire collector.
  • Round tube design allows for self-tracking of sun throughout the day to maximize system output.
Flat plate collectors are the most effective option in southern climates where low temperature operation is less of a consideration. Flat plate collectors have a lower per-collector cost.
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Advantages

  • Less expensive than evacuated tube collectors.
  • Most efficient performance in southern climates.
  • Highest overall BTU production of any solar collector for hot water production (limited freeze protection makes these collectors less suitable for colder climates).
The decision to use a solar hot water storage tank or brazed plate heat exchanger depends on several factors. The initial investment for purchase of a solar hot water tank is higher than that for a brazed plate heat exchanger. However, in many cases, purchase of a storage tank with an internal heat exchanger will produce higher system efficiency resulting in a higher return on investment and shorter payback period than for a brazed plate exchanger.

Storage Tanks with Integral Copper Coil Heat Exchangers:

Uses

  • Stores hot water for nighttime use.
  • Pre-heat solar storage tank for existing hot water system
  • New construction or where existing system hot water system is to be completely replaced

Advantages

  • Provides enhanced hot water storage and solar heating capacity in one component
  • Requires minimal alteration of existing hot water system and plumbing
  • Integral heat exchanger(s)

Brazed Plate Heat Exchangers:

Uses

  • Best for applications that have daytime demand for hot water
  • Utilizes an existing tank/heater to pre-heat water

Advantages

  • Lower initial investment and a storage tank
  • May be used with existing storage tank, eliminating the need for a dedicated solar hot water tank
(all above images provided by Sunmaxx Solar)