Solar thermal systems can be designed with energy storage in mind as well. There is no way to feed hot water back to the water utility, so hot water must be stored on site. This is generally accomplished using a home's hot water tank, just as conventionally heated water would be stored. While there are many iterations of solar thermal design, most take advantage of the existing hot water tank. In some systems, the water tank can double as a back-up or supplementary heater.
SOLAR THERMAL systems concentrate sunlight to provide hot water for a building. There are several solar-thermal system configurations which employ the sun's energy to heat water:
Solar collectors contain parallel tubes that absorb sunlight and transfer heat to the water storage tank. On an average, a solar water heater can reduce water heating bills by 50% - 80%. Solar thermal systems can be even more cost-effective if they are integrated in the construction of new homes. A conventional natural gas or electric system can be used in conjunction with solar thermal systems to provide additional heating as necessary.
|Water or Space Heating||Residential|
Active, closed-loop solar hot water systems are the most appropriate for Utah's climate, where freezing temperatures are common.
Flat plate collectors : contain a thin absorber sheet made of thermally stable polymers, aluminum, steel or copper (to which a black coating is applied), backed by a grid or coil of fluid tubing. The whole apparatus is placed in an insulated casing with a glass or polycarbonate cover. Flat plate collectors look similar to solar photovoltaic panels, which produce electricity
Evacuated tube collectors : are a series of modular tubes, mounted in parallel, each of which contains an absorber tube. Sunlight passing through an outer glass tube heats the absorber tube contained within it. The absorber can be made of copper or specially-coated glass tubing.
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