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Posts tagged ‘SunQuest 250 evacuated tube collectors’

Solar Thermal Technology to Be Used for Air Conditioning?

As you are probably already aware, Solar America Solutions uses solar thermal technology to provide space heating and hot water for our customers. In so doing, we have developed the most efficient and cost-effective solar thermal collection unit ever built. Our SunQuest 250 evacuated tube collector can produce heat energy at 475°F. However, could that heat energy also be used for air conditioning?

If research being conducted by students and faculty at Florida’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is any indication, it can. Their experiments have shown it is possible to use the heat generated from a solar thermal unit to drive the heat absorption process necessary for refrigeration. It may sound counterintuitive, but it really does work.

The research team built a prototype 300W system that captured the sun’s rays using parabolic mirrors. That energy was then fed to a concentrated collector where it was used to drive a compressor. The team has already built a refrigeration unit similar to the air-conditioning you would find on an RV. The next task is to take the knowledge gleaned from the proof of concept design and scale it up. They hope to eventually build a one-ton air-conditioning unit capable of adequately handling up to 500 ft.² of space.

The main difficulty with the current design is that it only works in areas where direct sunlight is readily available. There is no getting around the fact that parabolic mirrors require ample amounts of direct sunlight. What’s more, the system is nearly useless on overcast days or during the overnight hours. To solve this problem, the team will also be developing a high-capacity storage system alongside their larger air conditioner.

Evacuated Tube Design

When we set out to design our SunQuest 250 solar collector unit, we did so with the understanding that we needed something that would work even in the absence of direct sunlight. We came up with an evacuated tube design capable of achieving two important goals:

  • Efficiency – The bane of existence for most solar energy systems is the lack of efficiency. Evacuated tubes are highly efficient; these allow for nearly all of the generated heat to be used by the system – with no moving parts.

 

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  • Ultraviolet Collection – In addition to our evacuated tubes, the collector materials we use absorb energy from ultraviolet rays. That means the SunQuest 250 does not require direct sunlight to operate at peak performance. The system works quite well even on overcast days.

Like the team at Embry-Riddle, we also wanted our system to be usable during the overnight hours. Therefore, where our customers require it, we install solar tanks with built-in heat exchangers for extra capacity. The tanks store excess thermal energy that can be used either during off-peak times or to keep the system running at night.

Even as we continue working to make the SunQuest 250 even better than it is now, our customers are already enjoying tremendous savings that will enable most of them to pay for their systems within 3 to 5 years, or even less! We have installed the SunQuest 250 to provide space heating and hot water for agricultural operations, prison cellblocks, college dormitories, and more.

We look forward to seeing whether the Florida research team can produce a commercially viable solar thermal air conditioner. In the meantime, we will continue to develop our own technology to provide cost-effective and efficient space heating and hot water for our customers.

Brazil Hopes to Ease Energy Woes through Solar Thermal

For generations, Brazil has been a world leader in renewable energy on a grand scale. So much so that the South American country has been generating more than 75% of its electricity for decades using hydropower. However, a series of serious droughts over the last few years has wreaked havoc on the country’s power production capacity, resulting in higher electricity prices and increasing taxes used to subsidize the power industry. Now Brazil is hoping solar thermal can ease some of their energy woes.

Right now Brazil has about 10 million square meters of solar water heating systems throughout the country. Last year’s installation of 1.3 million square meters was an increase of about 15% over the previous year. The Brazilian government hopes to see installations increase by another 20% this year, continuing at an ever-greater pace in subsequent years. The idea is to really push solar thermal by encouraging the development of new public sector and private solar thermal companies making the technology available to end-users.

If the country can realize its goals, Brazil could continue to lead the world in setting the example for renewable energy sources. The combination of hydropower and solar thermal could be an exciting tandem capable of producing almost all of the electricity Brazilian businesses and individuals need. Let’s hope they succeed.

 

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How Solar Thermal Works

The specific details of Brazil’s plans have not been released, but it is easy to imagine nearly limitless possibilities based on how solar thermal works. Solar thermal energy production is centered on capturing ultraviolet rays from the sun, converting it to heat, and then using that heat for a multitude of purposes. This is exactly what we do at Solar America Solutions.

Our highly advanced SunQuest 250 evacuated tube collector can be mounted on a rooftop or in any open space where sunlight is available. One of our collector panels is capable of producing up to 250,000 BTUs per day, at temperatures as high as 475°. We then use a combination of transfer equipment, storage tanks, and pumps to make that heat usable.

In Indiana, one of our systems was installed in 2012 to provide hot water and space heating for a new cellblock at a correctional facility. In Ohio, the SunQuest 250 system replaced a number of aging boilers at an Ohio poultry farm. And in Indianapolis, a 10-panel system is being used to produce 98% of the hot water needs for a local college dormitory.

The advantages of solar thermal are many. For starters, the fact that the system uses ultraviolet rays means you do not need direct sunlight or perfectly clear skies for it to work. Second, the SunQuest 250 system is very compact and completely scalable. We do not need a lot of space to generate a lot of heat. Third, the efficiency of our system is such that most clients can recover their investment within five years.

There is a reason Brazil is aggressively pursuing solar thermal to supplement their hydropower. The country is doing it because it is cost-effective and it works. You can put the same technology to use for your business or organization here in the United States. Just call Solar America Solutions to learn how.

How Much Money Can Solar Panels Save You?

Adoption of solar energy is growing rapidly across the United States and, at Solar America Solutions, we are delighted to be a part of the renewable energy industry and the fight against greenhouse gases. We are also immensely proud of our SunQuest 250 evacuated tube solar thermal collector panel – the most efficient product of its kind, and one being utilized by a growing number of commercial and residential properties.

One of the common questions asked by potential customers is a justifiably upfront one: “How much money can solar panels save me?” Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to give a straight up answer, it is impossible for anybody to calculate exactly how much money can be saved by using solar thermal collectors.

The amount of money saved will vary based on a number of factors, including how much energy your property consumes, the position of your property in relation to the sun, fluctuating energy prices from utility companies and, of course, the weather! Over the long term, whether you decide to lease or purchase your solar panels outright will also affect savings.

So, while it’s hard for us to give an exact answer, we can provide you with an estimate of how much money can be saved by installing SunQuest 250 panels at your home or business.

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Energy Bill Reductions

SunQuest 250 solar thermal collector panels will help make significant savings on your energy bills – that, we can guarantee!

Many businesses owners have reported savings of between 50 and 90 per cent on energy bills after installing our solar panels on their property.
Using the figure of 50 per cent, we can estimate that, if your business spends a $1,000 per month on thermal energy (gas, oil, etc.), solar panels will reduce your utility bills by $500 per month. Over a year, that will equate to savings of $6,000! Savings for homeowners are equally as impressive. Say you spend $300 per month on energy at home; savings of 50 per cent due to solar panel installation will amount to $1,800 a year. And that’s only using the conservative figure of 50 per cent!

Solar Renewable Energy Credits

Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) are offered by several states, with more to follow, and are a form of “green tag” that requires utility companies to secure a portion of their electricity from solar generators. BTU savings can be calculated in KWH and are just as viable for SRECs as are electricity generating solar panels. SRECs are tradable commodities and can earn you money for the energy that you save.

Adding Value

Aside from the monthly and yearly savings, installing SunQuest 250 evacuated tube collectors at your home or business can add considerable value to your property. Studies show that installing solar panels on a home instantly adds between $18,000 and $23,000 in value, meaning that, as well as saving money, you can earn a profit from solar energy. Imagine what the added value would be for your business! Solar panels also make your home or business much more desirable to potential buyers, so securing a deal will not prove a problem!

To talk about how much you can expect to save by installing SunQuest 250 evacuated tube solar thermal collector panel system at your property, contact Solar America Solutions today.