Why would a residence purchase a solar thermal hot water heating system for this part of the world. It's overcast on the coast, with lingering clouds in the coast range mountains, which only improves moderately in the central interior of the province.
Performance data of exiting installations from the Buckley Valley and the North Coast has produced very successful results with Evacuated Tube Technology, whereby an investment can be recovered within a ten year period, particularly if heating of hot water consumption is integrated with a hydronic or water based space heating.
Foremost is the benefit of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. A collector array in an average location is capable of producing 2200 Watts when the sun shines, which would save 0.50 kg or 1.1 lbs of carbon dioxide if one used natural gas or propane to heat water as an example.
Our goal is to provide the best quality product for a Northern BC environment that will function optimally in either overcast or cold and windy conditions. For this reason Evacuated Tube Solar Collector technology has been selected. These systems will outperform conventional glazed panel collectors, or any other solar collectors for that matter, at a modestly additional cost. Several products exist on the market, and although we have traditionally marketed the Apricus technology, the customer can be provided with several options if they desire, based on cost and performance.
Evacuated Tube Collectors utilize a glass tube that is constructed similar to a thermos container, only the glass is clear, and retains the heat produced by a copper small copper pipe that also has a small portion of liquid which is sealed in a vacume within the copper heat pipe. This enables the collector to produce hot water at substantially higher efficiency than any other solar collector technology currently on the market. In the Northern Latitude of the Highway 16 corridor for example a 30 Tube Collector will produce 7000 to 9000 BTU in the middle of winter, regardless of subzero temperature or wind, they perform in mid winter at 90% of peak summer conditions. In addition, they outperform any other solar collector technology in overcast conditions by very high margins.
Solar thermal systems can be readily integrated with other hydronic [water] based biomass boiler, geothermal or combined heat and power systems. In fact much quicker investment recovery is evident when solar thermal is integrated combined with one or any of the three listed hydronic systems.
A basic pump loop can accommodate up to four collectors, and as each one is added, an additional 2,000 to 2,500 Watts of thermal energy is available to the hydronic system. A 200 litre hot water tank can be heated in less than one hour with three collectors, or four hours with one collector. If the sun shines all day, and it's middle of summer, one has the choice of redirecting the excess heat to a radiant basement floor slab or fan coil. However if three or four collectors are installed, the heat could become too intense for a basement area, particularly in some regions, and other than dumping this excess heat externally with a heat dissipater, one can redirect this excess heat to a geothermal ground loop, or a series of storage tanks.
This excess stored energy in a ground loop or storage tanks can be recovered very efficiently with a heat pump at a later time frame when ambient temperatures drop, and this stored energy becomes utilized as space heat.
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