Divine Renewable Energy

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Solar Thermal FAQs
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 Q: Is solar thermal the same as solar hot water?

      A: Yes.  The terms are used interchangeably.


Q: What happens during a power outage?

      A: Most solar pumps need electricity to work.  During a power outage these pumps will

      not work and therefore the solar thermal system will not produce hot water.  If a PV pump

      is used your solar thermal system will continue to operate through a power outage.


Q: Can i use an existing hot water tank?

       A: Yes.  Generally a solar pre-heat tank will be installed and plumbed between the

      incoming water service and your existing tank.  In this configuration your existing

      tank will provide a backup to the solar hot water system.  A solar tank can also

      replace your existing hot water tank.


Q: What is the difference between solar thermal and solar PV?

      A: Solar thermal generates heat whereas solar PV generates electricity. 


Q: Can’t i just use solar electric to offset my hot water load?

      A: The payback is generally better for solar thermal in heating applications.  More heat per

     square meter can be captured using a solar thermal system as compared with PV. 


Q: Are there different types of solar hot water collectors?

       A: Yes.  The most common types are flat plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors.           


Flat Plate CollectorsGlazed flat-plate collectors are insulated, weatherproofed boxes that

contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic (polymer) covers. Unglazed

flat-plate collectors—typically used for solar pool heating—have a dark absorber plate, made

of metal or polymer, without a cover or enclosure.


Evacuated Tube CollectorsFeature parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. Each tube contains

a glass outer tube and metal heat tube attached to a fin. The fin's coating absorbs solar energy

but inhibits radiative heat loss. 


Q: What maintenance is necessary?    

      A: A solar thermal system is almost maintenance free.  You should regularly check the

      solar fluid levels, the solar control, and circulator to be sure there is no malfunction. 


Q: How large of a solar thermal system do i need? 

      A:  The system will be sized according to your hot water requirements and the particular

      configuration of your home or business.