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DDepending upon where you live, typically 50% of our annual hot water needs can be met with renewable energy from the sun. Solar-heated water becomes you primary source of hot water, while you existing electric, natural gas, propane, or oil water heater functions as a back-up.
Solar hot water systems convert 60-70% of sunlight into useable heat which makes it a smart solar solution for most homeowners. This proven and reliable technology offers long-term performance with low maintenance and reduces CO2 emissions by 20%. A properly designed SHW system could provide all, or at least a significant amount, of your household hot water needs for some portion of the year. To get the most for your money, you´ll want a properly sized system that offers the best performance in your climate.
In this active, closed-loop system, incoming potable water is routed to the solar storage tank, but never into the collectors (either evacuated tube or flat plate). A water and antifreeze mixture circulates from the collectors (either evacuated tube or flat plate) through a coil in the solar tank or a heat exchanger, and then is pumped back through the collectors (either evacuated tube or flat plate). In most climates, a 50/50 propylene glycol and water mixture will keep collectors (either evacuated tube or flat plate) from freezing. The potable water is warmed by heat transfer through contact with the pipe.
These systems require an expansion tank and a few other auxiliary components for filling, venting, and maintaining the system. A definite advantage to antifreeze systems is that the collectors can be mounted anywhere. These systems are pretty much the only choice in very cold climates.