Solar Hot Water


The home uses a 4.2 KW Solar thermal system to provide about 97 % of all hot water from April to November therefore the backup oil furnace does not need to turn on. During late fall to early spring the solar hot water panels provide preheated water for the main hot water storage tank. The panels are very efficient and allow two heating cycles during most days in the summer. Turning on the dishwasher or washing clothes that require hot water at mid day allows for a second heating cycle during the afternoon. This second cycle will insure extra hot water for showers and other hot water needs during the evening. Most dishwashers and cloths washers have a variable time delay timer for time of use. Typically if there is more than two cloudy days the oil furnace will act as a backup to heat the hot water. During the summer the panels generate temperatures up to 300 F. In the winter on a sunny day, temperatures of 140 F at the panels are common. Solar thermal systems are among the most efficient systems available. It is  an excellent  choice for a young family on a limited budget to start with. The cost is roughly a quarter of a solar electric system and at minimum 3 times more efficient per unit area. On average payback is seven to eight years. Currently there are no programs for renewable energy credits for small solar thermal systems that I am aware of. Hopefully in the future this will change. There are currently federal and state tax incentives available. (see the links page for more info)

The three solar panels located at top of the roof are solely used to heat hot water.

Solar Hot Water Controller


Solar Hot Water Pump


Main Hot Water Tank fed by the Solar Hot Water Tank


Solar Hot Water Graphs



Solar hot water storage tank