Solar Water Heating Technical

The principle behind a solar water heater is very simple! Solar Water Heating uses solar evacuated collectors to capture the sun's radiant energy and converts it into thermal heat. The solar heat is then either transferred to usable energy or stored in a heat sink such as a large solar water tank or concrete slab and released as needed. There are many types of solar heating systems, but the most advanced and efficient system is a closed loop pressurized system. This type of system allows the suns energy to be stored and released upon demand using a special solar differential controller and pump that allows home owner the comfort and control with virtually zero energy costs.

BE WARNED! Modern day solar collectors produce significant amounts of heat energy and advanced high temperature solar system should be properly engineered. Northern Lights Solar Solutions provides pre-packaged solar heating systems that are proven successful through out the world. Caution should be used with "Home Made" Solar systems as they can lead to serious damage especially if using high efficiency vacuum tube collectors. Our systems are engineer with to provide maximum performance with SAFETY 1st!

Flat panel collector
Solar Heating Panel

Most solar water-heating system have four main parts: (1) a solar evacuate tube collector and (2) a solar storage tank (3) Solar Controller and Pump Station (4) Special Solar Piping. Until recently the most common collector used in solar hot water systems was the flat panel collector. However with the advance in technology, solar vacuum tube technology is rapidly becoming the method of choice as its energy output is much higher and takes up less space per square foot. Mass production of solar tubes has driven the cost down to allow widespread use of vacuum tubes.

Solar water heaters use the sun to heat either water or a heat-transfer fluid in the collector. The pumping station and controller cause this hot fluid to circulate through the specially insulated solar piping and the into a solar storage tank that normally contains an internal heat exchanger which indirectly heats the mass of water.

The tank can be as simple as a modified standard water heater, but more specific solar water tanks are recommended for better performance. Most solar water tanks will also feature a back up electric element built into the unit.

Solar Storage Tank
Solar Pump Station and Controller

The brains of every solar water heating system is the Solar Controller and Pump Station. This includes all items required to make the system function optimally and safely. Items such as temperature controllers, pumps, expansion vessels, pressure safety valves, fill and drain spouts all part of a properly installed solar system. Northern Light's uses German engineered and designed PAW pump stations with integrated RESol controllers.

These systems are the core of any of our solar systems, whether heating your house or a hot water tank, the solar controller & pump station is an important component. This pump station is a self contained pre-plumbed system that contains everything needed for a complete solar system. The System simply attaches to the hot and cold fittings at the collectors and attaches to the hot and cold fittings on you solar storage water tank. All specialty components are included and you simply plug the Solar Controller to a 110 VAC power outlet.

Perhaps the most over looked part of any solar heating system is the solar piping or "solar line sets" that tie the collectors, pump station, and solar storage tank together. Unlike Hydronic or radiant floor heating, solar thermal heating system gets much hotter and can quickly reach temperatures of 400 plus Fahrenheit. As such plastic tubing's such as PEX can never be used on the solar loop side.

Proper solar line sets are critical to a trouble-free installation. Northern Lights Solar Kits use stainless steel flexible 3/4" piping with a special high temperature EPDM foam insulation (3/4"). Also included on the line sets is a durable water proof membrane that stops the elements from damaging the insulated foam. One of the line sets will contain a pre installed temperature sensor wire that is used to communicate the collector temperature to the controller station. All our pre-packaged solar systems come complete with high temperature fittings that simply thread into place with out the need for any soldering, which greatly reduces the assembly time and leaks.

Insulated Piping
Solar Pipe Line Sets
Solar Water Heating Technical Process Diagram