The sun generates immense amounts of heat, which is constantly coming into contact with Earth. What if we could harness that heat for our own use? For centuries people have devised ways to concentrate that heat to warm their spaces, their water, and themselves. Now, solar thermal technologies allow us to do this on a much larger scale. Solar thermal technology collects UV radiation from the sun and converts it into heat displacing the need for fossil fuels. This is not the same thing as photovoltaic solar panels, which create electricity.
A proprietary coating on the inside of the evacuated tube attracts UV rays creating friction and heat. Two other special coatings help evenly disperse the heat within the tube, reaching internal temperatures in the 300 to 400°F range. Within each tube are two heat pipes which transfer the heat up through the the unit header to interface with conventional heating systems.
A heat-transfer fluid, consisting of a mixture of water and food grade glycol, conducts the collected heat out of the SunQuest 250 collector panel, through a closed hydronic loop, and into the building. This loop is full of British Thermal Units (BTU’s). The fluid in the heat pipe always remains in the pipe; only the BTU’s are transferred across the system header. This allows each tube and its related components to operate independently of one another.
Once inside the building, the heat is transferred to the application using various types of heat exchangers. Solar tank, plate & frame, and shell & tube heat exchangers are all common methods. The controller on the hydronic loop is used to log the data and set the target temperature and flow rate. The water entering the boiler or hot water heater is preheated using the sun’s renewable energy; thus these systems will not fire or will remain on low fire. The solar heat is passed through conventional heating systems, producing incredible energy savings for your business.
As the liquid solution circulates in the closed loop it continues to be reheated by the collector throughout the day. In the evening, when UV rays are unavailable, traditional heating systems take over the BTU workload. The SunQuest 250 resumes thermal energy production at dawn the next morning, at which time solar picks up again as the primary heat source. To extend the hours of solar energy production, hot water storage tanks may be utilized. During the day they are preheated to around 190°F, and a mixing valve is used to pull out the required heat. Applications like this typically save customers 95% to 100% of energy costs.