Solar Thermal Water Heating

Water heating accounts for approximately 25% of the energy used in a typical household 1, 2 and is estimated to be the 2nd largest use of energy in North America and the Caribbean. Through the use of solar thermal collectors, you can significantly reduce both water heating costs and greenhouse emissions. You can expect payback in as little as 3½ years depending on heat utilization.

Why Solar Thermal Energy?

  • Increases energy efficiency
  • Reduces or eliminates water heating costs
  • Integrates seamlessly with electrical back-up
  • Enables stand alone water heating in remote locations
  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • Increases property value
  • Reduces carbon footprint

How It Works

Simply stated, water flows from the hot water tank through the solar collector where it is heated and returns to the hot water tank. Hot water is then drawn from the tank to supply a facility's hot water needs. Two technologies exist to establish this flow of water:

  1. An active system utilizes a small, solar-powered pump to push water from the indoor water tank up to the solar collector and back to the tank
  2. A passive system relies on the convective flow created by the heating water. As the water warms, it becomes lighter and flows up toward the tank mounted above the solar collector. The colder water drains from the tank into the bottom of the collector

AES partners with leading manufacturers of solar collectors to design solar water systems to meet your specific needs.

Construction Considerations

  • Solar exposure
  • Water tank location
    • Active solar (water tank inside)
    • Passive (water tank above collectors)
  • Collector location
  • Photovoltaic thermal hybrid collector to power pump
  • Electrical conduit location
  • Pipe loop supplying cold water and returning hot water