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Posts tagged ‘Solar Thermal Collector Tubes’

Obama Leads the Way in Solar Power Adoption

At Solar America Solutions, we’re always keen to talk about the benefits of solar power and how systems such as our very own SunQuest 250 solar thermal collector panel can be beneficial to America’s place as a leader in renewable energy.

Solar energy is not only beneficial to the environment by helping users reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear sources as well as reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions, it can help owners save thousands of dollars in energy bills over a lifetime. Of course, as much as the Solar America Solutions name is growing across the U.S., our message, and the message of solar energy being essential for the future of the planet, doesn’t reach as far or wide as we’d like. Therefore, it would be more beneficial for the solar industry as a whole to have a more well known spokesperson championing the cause, and who better to do this than the 44th President of the United States himself, Barack Obama?


SunQuest 250


Obama’s Pledge

Back in October of 2010, the Obama administration pledged to put solar thermal collector tubes on the White House as a sign of the president’s commitment to renewable energy and solar power in particular. Being someone who would rather show than tell, almost three years later, the installation of these panels has taken place.

The White House confirmed the news last month, with between 20 and 50 panels said to have been installed on the roof of the world’s most famous residence. A White House spokesperson said that the initiative “will help demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy efficiency upgrades, while it is estimated to pay for itself in energy savings over the next eight years.”

When the administration first confirmed the embracing of solar energy, then-energy secretary Steven Chu said: “This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home. Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.”

The installation of solar panels further solidifies, Obama’s stance on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and adds to the administrations deployment of hybrid cars and trucks and $2 billion commitment to upgrade federal buildings at no up-front cost to the taxpayer.

The Washington Post, who reported the story, noted that this is not the first time the White House has had solar thermal collectors installed, as President Jimmy Carter has previously had 32 panels installed in the late 70s to provide hot water.


Proof that Solar Power is here to stay

There can be no greater endorsement of solar power than from the most powerful and well known man on the planet and it shows that products like the SunQuest 250 are here to stay. Not only this, it shows that solar energy is fast becoming the number one alternative to fossil fuels and are helping to save the planet with each new solar thermal collector panel that is installed.

Australian Farm Proves the Benefits of Solar

In southern Australia, dairy farming is an important part of the local economy. And just like their counterparts in other parts of the world, dairy farmers in the region are looking for cost-effective ways to meet their hot water needs while still maintaining an emphasis on sustainability and protecting the environment.

Earlier this year, dairy farmers Doug and Lyn Crosby found just the system they were looking for. It is an evacuated tube solar collection system tied to a heat exchanger to provide all the hot water needed to clean their dairy equipment.

The Crosby’s installed the system in hopes that it could save them at least a little bit on their monthly energy bills. They were astounded to discover it actually saved them an incredible 72%. At that rate, expect the solar thermal collection system to pay for itself within 2.5 years.

How it Works

The system installed by the Crosby’s is remarkably similar to Solar America Solutions’ SunQuest 250 system. It utilizes a solar thermal collector panel mounted on the roof of the farm’s main barn. The collector panel is made up of 32 evacuated tubes employing an absorption material that collects energy from the sun.

The heat from that absorption material is sent into a heat pipe and then circulated through a heat transfer liquid. The liquid runs directly to a heat exchanger, which heats the water needed by the farming operation. The entire system is incredibly efficient.

The two most important aspects to note about evacuated tube solar collectors are:

  • Absorption Material – Evacuated tube solar collectors like the SunQuest 250 are superior to their flat plate cousins because of the absorption material used, the lack of heat loss back into the atmosphere, and their efficiency in using the sun’s UV rays instead of its infrared rays. And because ultraviolet rays penetrate cloud cover and are not impacted by the outside temperature, direct sunlight is not needed.
  • Vacuum Principal – Solar thermal collector tubes from Solar America Solutions are designed as dual-tube systems. In between the two tubes, we create a vacuum for maximum efficiency. This vacuum virtually eliminates heat loss back into the atmosphere, a key factor in their 94% efficiency.

Scalable Solutions

The SunQuest 250 solar thermal collector panel is ideal for commercial applications because of the massive amounts of heat they generate. Because our system is fully scalable, larger buildings and manufacturing processes can benefit from Solar America Solutions products.

Just last year we installed a three-panel system at a poultry farm in Ohio. The owners of the farm wanted it to replace aging boilers and supplement heat for the hot water they needed for their egg washing operation. Not only did the system supply all of their hot water needs, it proved so efficient the farm is adding a second system when they expanded later this year.

Evacuated tube solar collectors are the perfect solution for hot water and space heat in just about any environment. Solar America Solutions is proud to be part of this exciting industry; we would love to show how we could help you.

Colorado Homeowner Takes Solar to the Next Level

If you ever find yourself driving through beautiful Colorado Springs, and you get a good view of Pikes Peak, take a look around for a massive 5,500-ft.² home sitting alone atop a hill. That home is the creation of a man who purchased the vacant land more than 36 years ago.

There’s more to this outstanding home than just its large footprint. Its claim to fame is the solar collection system that provides heat and hot water for the entire property. But even more amazing is the scale of those requirements.

The home’s evacuated tube solar collectors provide:

– Space heat for each of the 17 heating zones
– Domestic hot water throughout the home
– Hot water for the property’s hot tub
– Heated water for a complete koi pond system including several ponds, gardens, and both storage & quarantine tanks for the fish.

An overhead shot of the property reveals 10 evacuated tube solar collector panels, mounted mostly on the home’s roof. Two of the panels are wall mounted. Inside the home is a water storage tank with the capacity in excess of 650 gallons. Between the solar thermal collectors and the associated peripheral equipment, this system more than meets the space heat and hot water requirements of the sprawling estate.

Solar Panels

Solar America Solutions SunQuest 250

Solar America Solutions designs and manufactures evacuated tube solar collectors similar to the ones used in the Colorado Springs home. Our third-generation technology can provide more than 50% of your hot water and space heating needs with up to 94% efficiency. You will not get that sort of efficiency with any other solar collection system on the market today.

How do we do it? By taking advantage of the vacuum principle to eliminate virtually all heat loss. That means the heat generated by our solar thermal collector tubes goes directly to a heat transfer liquid which is then delivered to the home’s heating and plumbing systems via traditional heat exchangers. Our system is not wasting the heat it collects by letting it dissipate back into the atmosphere.

Yes, It Works

There remains quite a bit of debate over whether or not evacuated tube solar collectors like those utilized by the SunQuest 250 are more efficient and cost-effective than flat-panel collectors. We are confident in saying they are. We have scores of commercial applications demonstrating that our technology works as advertised.

Some of our more high-profile projects include providing hot water for an Indianapolis college dormitory, providing radiant floor heating for an Ohio farm equipment dealer, and providing domestic hot water and space heat for an Indiana correctional facility.

Solar America Solutions’ evacuated tube solar collectors are an excellent option for large commercial buildings. However, they are also a cost-effective solution for residential applications. If you’re thinking of going solar for your space heat and hot water needs, please consider the SunQuest 250 system. Your system comes complete with our state-of-the-art evacuated tube solar collectors and any other additional equipment you might need for your application. Contact us to find a qualified Solar America Solutions dealer near you.

The Tax Advantages of Solar Energy

It is no secret that the current Washington administration is heavily invested in renewable energy sources as a means of reducing America’s dependence on fossil fuels. Likewise, many state and local governments are also pushing renewable energy. It should come as no surprise, then, that there are tax credits available to companies willing to utilize solar energy.

Solar America Solutions wants to help America’s businesses take advantage of those tax credits with the SunQuest 250 solar thermal collector panel and evacuated tube system. We have already helped businesses just like yours reduce external energy consumption, lower their energy bills, and take advantage of tax credits.


How it Works

A good example of the benefits of the SunQuest 250 system is found at Minnich Poultry in Fort Recovery, Ohio. This thriving poultry operation needed to replace three aging boilers used for space heating and egg washing. Solar America Solutions answered the call with three SunQuest 250 solar thermal collector panels mounted on the roof. The system generated enough heat energy to much of the needs of that building.

The SunQuest 250 system works on the principle of solar thermal energy (heat) rather than the more commonly recognized photovoltaic energy (electricity) conversion. In a nutshell, rather than converting the sun’s rays into DC electricity, it converts ultraviolet rays into heat. The heat can then be stored in a highly efficient collection tank to be used for hundreds of purposes.

In the case of Minnich Poultry, the system was used to provide hot water for egg washing and space heating for the entire building. The system works so well that building now has no need for external energy sources, thus reducing the overall energy consumption and allowing the company to take advantage of a federal tax credit.

Efficiency Is the Key to Success

The main advantage of the SunQuest 250 lies in its solar thermal collector tubes, also known as “evacuated tubes.” These tubes collect the generated heat in a vacuum environment; the vacuum prevents heat transfer loss to create an incredibly efficient system. The vacuum tubes’ internal coatings and components also boosts that heat energy before sending along to a collection tank where the heat is stored for use after the sun goes down.

With convection also in play, that heat transfer system continuously works so that there is always thermal energy available for whatever purpose needed, regardless of the outside temperature or even cloud cover. This gives the SunQuest 250 system the potential of very large-scale applications in a variety of industries.

Right now, we are hard at work deploying our systems in manufacturing environments, government facilities, hospitals, and so forth. Solar thermal energy from large scale concentrators is already being used for commercial power generation in around the world and the scalability of our system is such that it is only a matter of time before we tackle that application that as well.

While photovoltaic solar energy has been good to us this new solar thermal technology available from Solar America Solutions is opening up solar applications never dreamed possible before. Photovoltaic energy is still good technology for generating electricity like supplemental home electrical generation, solar thermal technology utilizing inexpensive and cost effective evacuated tube solar collectors will drive the industry into the future. We are excited to be a part of it at Solar America Solutions.

How Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors Work

If you have ever been lying in an inner tube in the middle of a swimming pool, you know any water that collects on the surface of the inner tube will become warm with the sun. That’s the principle of solar energy at work. However, you have probably also noticed the water never gets extremely hot. That is because there is nothing to insulate the heat to prevent it from escaping.

When applying the principle of solar heating to real life applications that require extremely high temperatures, traditional solar principles just do not work. But the evacuated tube solar technology utilized by the SunQuest 250 does. It enables us to harness the sun’s rays to produce boiling water, steam, forced air heating, and so on.

Furthermore, this new technology does not need bright, crystal-clear sunshine. It utilizes the sun’s ultraviolet rays that penetrate cloud cover, making it possible to capture the sun’s energy even on cloudy, cold days. This technology offers the real possibility of viable solar heating on a large scale.

SunQuest 250 Evacuated Tube Solar Collector

SunQuest 250 Evacuated Tube Solar Collector

The Vacuum Principle

In a traditional photovoltaic application, a solar collector absorbs the sun’s rays and immediately converts it into DC electricity. The solar thermal collectors of the SunQuest 250 are somewhat different. Rather than converting solar energy into electricity, the sun’s UV rays create friction when penetrating the film in the collector panel’s evacuated tubes, generating heat that is sent to the collector’s header through the process of evaporation/condensation.

The secret to the SunQuest system is the evacuated tube itself. It is manufactured in such a way to create a vacuum that inhibits heat transfer but allows UV penetration. This results in minimal energy loss and the capability of generating much higher temperatures. As the heat generated by the solar panel is passed on to a transfer fluid passing through its header, its energy is insulated from loss by the vacuum in the tubes.  The transfer fluid then delivers the heat to a collection tank via a heat exchanger in the tank.

The evacuated tube collector is unique in that the only moving part is a tiny circulating pump that costs only pennies a day to operate, making the system not only very efficient but also very low maintenance. In essence, we are using the sun to generate heat while operating the system at very low cost.

To the Collection Tank and Beyond

When the heat energy reaches the collection tank, it heats water, which can then be used for any number of purposes. In residential applications, the hot water can be used for bathing, cooking, laundry, and so on. It can also be sent through a heat exchanger for forced air heating or almost any other form of space heat.

In industrial or commercial settings, the potential of the SunQuest 250 is even more profound. With the right setup of evacuated tube solar collectors, it is possible to generate heat for a full factory of equipment. Even more impressive is the idea of using solar thermal energy to operate a full-fledged power plant providing electricity to homes and businesses, a concept that is now feasible with this highly efficient solar collector.

Evacuated tube solar technology is an exciting frontier with monumental potential. As technology and knowledge advance, we will be able to harness the sun’s potential for even greater benefits. For right now though, the SunQuest 250 is already pretty exciting.