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Posts tagged ‘solar thermal collection panel’

New Australian Product Shows Power of Solar Thermal

Solar thermal energy got a big boost in the “Land Down Under” when the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) got behind a new project aimed at combining photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies into a single package. The new system, developed by a company known as Bluescope, still has a long way to go before it is ready for commercial use. However, it has shown great promise so far.

The technology is based on a concept known in the industry as Building Integrated Photovoltaic Thermal (BIPVT). It aims to combine photovoltaic for electrical generation with solar thermal for heat and hot water. Research and development in this area is focused on creating a combined product that could be deployed via a single installation.

The reason for incorporating solar thermal is directly related to the inherent weaknesses of photovoltaic. In other words, a photovoltaic system converts energy collected from direct sunlight into electricity. Nevertheless, the technology is incredibly inefficient – so much so that a photovoltaic system is unusable for generating hot water and space heating. Solar thermal is completely different.

A solar thermal system, like the SunQuest 250 evacuated tube solar thermal collectors manufactured by Solar America Solutions, collects energy from ultraviolet rays and uses it to heat water or some other type of thermal liquid. The incredible efficiency of solar thermal technology makes it a very powerful system for producing space heat and hot water. In theory, it could also be used to generate electricity if collection and storage were adequate.

Solar Thermal Is the Future

We are thrilled to see solar thermal be part of the BIPVT strategy in Australia. We believe solar thermal is superior to other solar power systems, thanks to its efficiency, capacity, and cost effectiveness. We also believe that solar thermal is the future of affordable green energy solutions.

Solar America Solutions has invested in solar thermal by designing and building our revolutionary SunQuest 250 solar collection unit. The collector panel is based on the evacuated tube principle that results in incredible efficiency and unbelievable temperatures. Imagine having a solar collection unit that can deliver up to 35,000 BTUs per hour while creating temperatures of as much as 475°F. That is a lot of heat that you could put to use for hot water, radiant floor heating, or space heating.


To date, Solar America Solutions has successfully installed SunQuest 250 systems at facilities ranging from college dormitories to state prisons to agricultural operations. In fact, one installation we are especially proud of was deployed in a new cellblock at a state correctional facility in Indiana. We installed the system with promises of savings high enough to pay for the system in just a couple of years. Correction officials were so impressed with the actual results that they asked us to come in and perform additional installations in the future. Indiana correction administrators communicated the success of their project with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction which has now resulted in the largest (non-utility) solar thermal project in North America, incorporating 400 SunQuest 250 collectors to supply hot water and space heat to eight cell blocks at the Ross Correctional Facility in Chillicothe, Ohio.

How It Works

The main difference between how photovoltaic and solar thermal works boils down to one thing: how usable energy is created from the sun. A solar thermal system, like the SunQuest 250, traps heat generated by the sun’s ultraviolet rays in an evacuated tube. That intense heat is then transferred, by way of a thermal liquid, to a heat exchanger inside the building. The heat can be used to furnish hot water or space heat.

With the right storage, any excess energy not used during daylight hours can be stored for overnight use. This makes solar thermal energy far superior to photovoltaic for its intended purposes. At Solar America Solutions, we do not believe there is a better way to produce reliable and inexpensive renewable energy. We invite you to contact us or one of our dealers so we can show you how solar thermal can work for you.

How the Solar Thermal Sector Can Attract More Investors

Recent attendees of the SMEThermal 2014 conference in Germany were given some sound advice about attracting investors in the coming years. The advice came from Georgieff Capital Advisors partner Nicholas Atkins. Moreover, while the advice was clearly directed at new solar thermal startups, existing companies would do well to take heed when looking for additional investment funding.

The solar thermal sector enjoyed a lot of investor enthusiasm prior to the start of the Great Recession. Investors were eager to put funding into projects with great promise, knowing full well the profits were not to be delivered until well down the road. However, when the bottom fell out of the economy, many of those investors walked away. There are still investors out there today, but companies need to know how to approach them.

According to Atkins, one of the most important things companies need to do is make sure their business model is scalable. In other words, a company like Solar America Solutions needs to have the ability to grow and expand very quickly if it hopes to attract investors. Atkins explained that many investors want an exit available within 3 to 7 years of investing. In order to make that happen, the company receiving the funding needs to be able to grow quickly.

Another important thing companies need to do is to demonstrate to investors that there is a profitable business plan. A business plan needs to include products and services that can quickly generate profit that will lead to company expansion. If the investor does not see the potential for decent profit, he is not likely to take the risk.




Solar America’s Business Model

At Solar America Solutions, we believe we have both the product and business model that will allow our company to grow and expand well into the future. Our business is based on a core product known as the SunQuest 250 solar thermal collection panel. This panel is a state-of-the-art solar thermal collection unit designed around evacuated tube technology that is both highly efficient and cost-effective.

Unlike traditional solar thermal collector technologies, evacuated tube designs make use of dual tubes separated by a vacuum. The vacuum provides excellent insulation to reduce heat loss to near zero. This allows the SunQuest 250 to deliver over 300,000 BTUs daily at temperatures well over 400°. We use that heat to provide hot water and space heat for commercial applications.

In an industrial setting, the SunQuest 250 could be used to replace boilers normally driven by natural gas or oil. In a government building or educational facility, the system could provide both space heat and hot water throughout. There is virtually no limit to what can be done when solar thermal is used to replace other energy systems based on heat. Simply put, any application involving a boiler is a prime candidate for solar thermal.

In a recent application, 400 SunQuest 250 collectors by Solar America Solutions were installed in an Ohio corrections facility where they will provide more than 50% of the thermal energy needed for space heat, showers, laundry, and dish washing. This is currently the largest non-utility solar thermal system in North America and will pay for itself in less than seven years.

We are excited about the future of solar thermal energy in the United States. Over the years, we have seen great strides in technology development and innovation. Solar America Solutions is proud to be part of an industry that shows such great promise for renewable energy production that saves money and helps protect the environment. If you would like to know how we could help your business or organization, do not hesitate to contact us.