Solar Water Heating using Solar Vacuum Tubes
There are a few types of solar water collectors on the market today. The most popular in North America is the flat plate collector. This is a good collector for domestic hot water for most of the season but loses its performance in the winter. Solar vacuum tubes are a more advanced solar water heater that produce a higher temperature. However, their major advantage is in winter performance. Heating hot water in the winter with solar vacuum tubes will outperform all other types of solar collectors.
If you are looking at producing solar hot water with a higher temperature, then heating with solar vacuum tubes will produce the best results. Solar vacuum tube collectors are like a coffee thermos. The heat energy is trapped inside the vacuum tube and cannot escape. A flat plate collector is more like a regular coffee cup. The energy produced by a flat plate collector will quickly escape through the walls of the collector. In the winter time, when the outside temperature is colder, the heat loss will be much greater with a flat plate collector than with a solar evacuated tube collector. That is why in Northern Climates such as Canada and Northern UDA, solar water heating with vacuum tubes is superior choice.
In Europe and Asia solar vacuum tubes have become much more popular as the price of production has dropped substantially. This means that the overall cost of a solar water heater with vacuum tubes has greatly declined making them a very popular choice. Currently the two types of heating system are within a 10% cost difference which means that vacuum tubes are quickly growing in popularity in the US and Canada.
Another growing market is home heating using solar vacuum tubes. Because of an evacuated tube's superior winter performance and higher operating temperatures, home heating or space heating is becoming a very popular means of apply solar energy to homes, shops and commercial facilities. A larger size system can produce both the domestic hot water hot water for a house as well as supply extra heat to assist the home heating system. This is a great way to capture the sun's full energy potential as home heating and domestic hot water often accounts for as much as 80% of a home’s energy consumption. However, when designing such a system, you need to keep in mind that the heat energy demand in the summer is zero, so the extra solar heat needs be controlled. This can be done by diverting the heat to a pool or hot tub or by simply covering some of the solar collectors with covers.
Northern Lights solar solutions specializes in solar water heating applications using vacuum tubes and has several pre-packaged solar heating designs for both domestic hot water and home heating as well as for pools and hot tubs.