A solar collector is the heart of the solar water heating system. Simply stated, when the sun is shining, heat energy is absorbed by the solar collector’s all copper absorber plate and transferred to the fluid circulating through the solar collector. The system pump efficiently circulates this heated fluid through the collector piping and integral tank heat exchanger. The heat exchanger consists of a 120’ length of copper tubing wrapped around the solar storage tank. As the fluid passes through the heat exchanger, the heat in the fluid is transferred by conduction to the potable water in your solar storage tank. As this process is continuously repeated during the average sunny day, the temperature in your solar water storage tank rises.
The differential temperature controller is the brain of the system. The controller uses temperature sensors to constantly monitor the temperatures at the collector and at the tank. The controller automatically turns the pump on when useful heat is available at the collector and turns the pump off when there is insufficient solar heat available or the tank has reached maximum temperature.
Both single and double tank systems are designed to provide three modes of operation:
- The system serves as a preheater to your solar storage tank or back-up water heater.
- The system has the ability to bypass the solar collector and allow your water to be heated by 100% utility energy or conventional fuel.
- Here in Tucson, supplemental heat is usually not required for much of the year, thus allowing your water heating to be 100% solar.
The installation of an optional water heater time switch allows you to control both the frequency and duration of supplemental conventional water heating.