Solar thermal super feature

After some careful consideration, I’ve decided to install a solar thermal system onto the roof above my garage as part of my project! I think that a solar thermal system will be a great addition to my array of eco-friendly features - a solar thermal system will work out quite nicely in conjunction with the PV panels I’m installing on the other part of my roof. The more my systems lower my carbon footprint, the better.

I’ve decided on a solderless drain back type system,  with three foot by eight flat plate collectors. The system I’ve purchased is manufactured by HTP, and is a full-plate, laser-welded product. Each 150 pound panel has one inch ports on the top and bottom, with quick fast connections so that no soldering is needed. Right now, I’m planning on installing three such panels on the southeast facing roof over my garage - the system also includes a 115 gallon stainless steel tank with an electric backup.

I think the system will come together pretty easily. There are a couple different ways to mount these systems depending on the type of roof that you have. One way to mount solar thermal panels is to use universal mounts - the panels get attached to the roof by adjustable feet attached to the mounts, which allows for some legroom as far as being able to tilt the panel to an angle different from your roof incline. On my roof, I have an angle that’s pretty ideal for the circumstances - for my application, we’ll use a direct foot mount that bolts directly into the roof. We’ve already calculated out where we’ll need to position the panels so that our rain gutter systems function effectively.

As for my drain back tank, I’m placing it in the “attic” next to the bonus room above the garage. This will minimize the distance that the water needs to travel from the panels to the tank and also allow me to avoid the need to include glycol in the system and reduce heat transfer loss.

The panels I have purchased are beautiful. Once they’re mounted on the roof, we’ll be able to see through the glass - the panels I’m installing don’t have the same strips and appearance that conventional solar panels have, and they’re really quite attractive. The panels I have aren’t completely transparent, but they’re a step ahead of what was previously available.

Rod and I had a great conversation about solar thermal systems and what components will work best with my application. I tried to take all factors into consideration when designing this system, from geography to the orientation of my house to how a solar thermal system will play into my quest to balance energy savings with optimal indoor comfort. I highly recommend checking watching the episode - Rod is a very knowledgeable individual and has years of experience working with solar thermal systems.

What do you think about the system we’re going to install? Join the conversation and let us know!

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  • Scott Stampe
    How will you control the pumps such that they only run when there is enough sun to warm your water? A sunny January day with a brisk wind would make me frightened to start the pumps.
  • Dave Sweet