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Solar water heating installation in Quebec

Solar hot water has a much shorter return on investment than it’s solar sibling, the photovoltaic. They use a simple yet efficient technology to pre-heat water that will be used for domestic hot water or heating the space through radiant floors. These systems will generally save between 40 to 70% of the hot water usage of a residence.

Components and their use:

Solar Panels:

 

Generally installed on the roof, they capture the sun’s energy and convert it into heat through an absorber. An absorber is an ultra absorbing, non-reflecting plaque which transfers heat to the fluid, generally propylene glycol, a comestible anti-freeze.

The heat gained will then be transferred to the storage tank through the heat exchanger. We will therefore be able to extract the heat gained through the sun and transfer it to the domestic hot water tank and/or the space heating system (radiant floors, hot water radiators etc.) even to geothermic wells in some cases.

It is important to remember that solar energy is a supplemental energy source to a main heating source.The more solar heat we will be able to store in sunny periods, the greater the autonomy of your solar system.

Lifespan:

 

The normal lifespan of a solar domestic hot water system is 25 years. A well-maintained system can certainly over last that. A proper installation of your solar hot water system will certainly help prolong the lifespan of your system and it’s associated components.

Average Cost:

 

There are many different types of thermal solar systems which cater to different results. A start-up kit will generally start around $6,000. Contact us for a more precise evaluation for your particular needs.

Maintenance:

 

There is very little maintenance: a check-up of the glycol every other year should be performed to check for it’s freezing point and PH.

Sizing solar domestic hot water systems :

 

“It will always be cheaper to conserve energy than to produce it". We can generally size up a system with this information:

Domestic hot water:

 
Solar storage tank:

We will calculate approximately 15-20 gallons of solar storage for each of the occupants of the house.

Collectors:

For an area like Québec, we calculate approximately 0.75 to 1 square foot of collector surface for one gallon of solar water storage. For example, a family of 4 adults will use about 80 gallons of hot water per day, we will recommend a storage tank of 80 gallons with a collector surface averaging 60 square feet or the equivalent of 2 collectors.

For space heating

 

We will need to know the building heat loss, or it’s need in heat to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house all year. We will then find the efficiency of the collectors and with this information we will calculate 25-50% of the heating needs in collector surface to proper size the quantity of collector necessary. More simply, we can also calculate a maximum of 2 square feet of collector surface for each 10 square feet of livable space. With this information we can estimate covering close to 50% of the annual heating needs in heating from the sun energy if using a properly sized solar storage tank to match the rest of the system.

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