Highland Solar Store / 869 North Main Street / Highland, WI 53543 / (608) 929-4043
Dubuque Solar Store / 925 Century Dr., Dubuque, IA 52002 / (563) 582-5156

Solar Hot Water / Solar Thermal

solar thermal ground

Depending on the conditions of your home, your solar hot water panels may work better positioned on the ground rather than the roof.

As homeowners continue to watch the price of energy increase, more and more choose to make the switch and invest in solar. Solar thermal, or solar hot water, is the most prevalent type of solar energy. Studies have shown that an impressive 94 percent of those who invest in solar said they believe they made a good choice. And there are almost 2 million small businesses and homeowners who are currently benefiting from this source of energy. This number will most likely continue to rise as more consumers realize the value of installing a solar heating system. Besides the lower monthly bills, homeowners will also benefit from the increased value of their home. Solar hot water is a multifaceted positive investment.

Generate Monthly Savings with a Solar Hot Water System

solar hot water pie chartSolar Thermal serves to heat the water that is used anywhere hot water is typically found in your home. This can include water for the shower, dishwasher, clothes washer, and any other hot water using appliance. The costs associated with heating the hot water to fulfill the needs of an average household accounts for anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the monthly expenses. With Solar Thermal taking care of these costs, a homeowner’s initial investment will pay for itself in only a short amount of time, especially considering that a solar system typically has a life of about 25 years.

The size of the solar thermal equipment is usually within the range of 50 to 100 square feet. At times the best placement for the system is not on the roof and is then installed with ground mounted collectors. The system can also be designed to produce solar space heating, but for this process, a larger area is needed.

Learn more about the savings benefits from solar energy. 

Direct vs. Indirect Solar Hot Water Systems

closed loop solar hot water system

With this system, the glycol solution is heated, rather than drinking water, and then the heat is transferred to heat the hot water supply.

The process of Solar Thermal is very different than the other form of capturing solar power, Solar Photovoltaic (PV). Homeowners use Solar Thermal in one of two ways; to heat water directly or to heat up a substance called glycol that will then transfer heat to the water. For the direct heating method, where the sun heats the water, it is then used throughout the home just as it would had it been heated by the hot water heater. But if the glycol method is used, the solution passes from the interior of the solar panel to a heat exchange to heat the potable (drinkable) water in your home where it is then either stored or heated even more so that it may be used right away.

It may not seem like a viable solution in all areas of the country, but surprisingly, Solar Thermal works well in cooler climates as well as those with consistently high average temperatures. The type of Solar Thermal that works the best differs in hot regions versus areas with cooler temperatures. For areas where freezing temperatures are common, the glycol system works well because it operates with a closed circuit system, where the glycol solution is heated and then that heat is transferred to the water that the home will use. The system works in freezing temperatures because the glycol solution acts like antifreeze to keep the pipes from freezing.

The glycol system is ideal for a supplemental heating system. The sun is able to create heated water through this system even when there are freezing temperatures and on cloudy days. This way, energy is conserved because no energy needs to be spent to preheat the water before it is heated immediately before use. The savings realized by a homeowner using this glycol preheating method are substantial, even during the winter months in northern climates. The Solar Thermal system will typically cut energy costs by about 65 percent. Creating hot water in the wintertime is a high cost process, which is greatly reduced with a solar hot water system.

solar hot water swimming pool

Solar hot water can help reduce the exorbitant costs associated with heating your swimming pool.

For the warmer areas of the U.S. such as Florida, Arizona, Texas and California, the glycol method is not necessary and the Solar Thermal system can heat the actual water used in the home through pipes in the solar panels, which is then transferred without a heat exchange straight back into the hot water tank. This method is used with a Direct Circulation System. It works best in areas of the country that typically do not have freezing temperatures, even during the winter months.

Another use for these Direct Circulation Systems is in heating the water in home swimming pools. The mass amounts of water in a swimming pool takes substantial energy to heat, so a solar thermal system earns back its initial investment in only a few years of operation.

Our solar experts can help you decide which type of Solar Thermal system is best for your home. Whether you are looking for a supplemental heating method or a system that will provide all of the hot water for your needs, a Solar Hot Water system can greatly benefit your home.


american solar energy society midwest renewable energy association

We invite you to visit our showrooms to learn more about alternative energy options.
CSI Sun - Highland Solar Store
869 North Main Street / Highland, WI 53543 / (608) 929-4043
CSI Sun - Dubuque Solar Store
925 Century Dr., Dubuque, IA 52002 / (563) 582-5156

And for more information about keeping your family comfortable, safe and warm, please visit www.ChimneySpecialistsInc.com or www.DubuqueFireplaceandPatio.com

Serving Many Area Towns with Solar Panels, Solar PV, Solar Hot Water - Platteville WI - 53518 / Mt Horeb WI - 53572 / Verona WI - 53593 / Madison WI - 53717 - 53719 - 53711 - 53713 - 53715 - 53705 - 53706 - 53703 - 53716 - 53714 - 53704 - 53718 / Middleton WI - 53562 / Muscoda WI - 53573 / Spring Green Wi - 53588 / Cuba City WI - 53807 / Darlington WI - 53530 / Mineral Point WI - 53565 / Fennimore WI - 53809 / Boscobel WI - 53805 / Lancaster WI - 53831 / Prairie du Sac WI - 53578 / Dodgeville WI - 53533 / Richland Center WI - 53581 / Prairie du Chien WI - 53821 / Galena IL 61036 / anamosa ia - 52205 / asbury ia - 52002 / bellevue ia - 52031 / cascade ia - 52033 / de witt ia - 52742 / dubuque ia - 52001 - 52002 - 52003 - 61025 / dyersville ia - 52040 / guttenberg ia - 52052 / independence ia - 50644 / manchester ia - 52057 / maquoketa ia - 62060 / monticello ia - 52310 / oelwein ia - 50662 / waverly ia - 50677 / elizabeth il - 61028 / freeport il - 61032 / lake carroll il - 61046 / mount carroll il - 61053 / savanna il - 61074 / stockton il - 61085

Counties Served Wisconsin Counties - Iowa County WI, Grant County WI, Lafayette County WI, Green County WI, Rock County WI, Dane County WI, Sauk County WI, Richland County WI, Crawford County WI, Vernon County WI Iowa Counties - Dubuque County IA, Jackson County IA, Allamakee County IA, Clayton County IA, Fayette County IA, Delaware County IA, Buchanan County IA, Jones County IA, Clinton County IA, Linn County IA Illinois Counties - Jo Daviess County IL, Stephenson County IL, Winnebago County IL, Carroll County IL, Ogle County IL

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