Call 317-688-8581 to discuss your renewable energy needs

Posts tagged ‘SunQuest 250 solar collector panel’

Good News About Solar Thermal and Consumer Awareness

Our role as the designer and manufacturer of the patented SunQuest 250® solar thermal collector affords us plenty of opportunities to interact with business and government leaders interested in developing renewable energy solutions. In that regard, we sometimes wonder about consumer awareness. Are the things we are pursuing part of the public mindset, or is it just our industry and select government leaders that are paying attention?

We are pleased to report that consumer awareness of solar thermal is growing; not only here in the U.S., but also overseas as well. Consider a recent report out of Europe that shows solar thermal is the most well-known renewable heat source among both residential and commercial property owners.

 

SunQuest250

 

Efforts Are Paying Off

A number of European trade associations banded together some time ago to begin pushing renewable heat sources for both residential and commercial buildings. The associations covered the three most important sources of renewable heat: solar thermal, biomass, and geothermal. They worked with government agencies willing to help increase public awareness, measuring the success of their efforts via the Fair RHC Options and Trade (FROnT) project.

Throughout the project, customers have been surveyed about their awareness of renewable heat solutions. Nearly 5,000 have represented the residential sector thus far while 896 represented non-residential, and 585 come from the industrial sector. In all three cases, solar thermal has proved to be the most well-known renewable heat source. Biomass and geothermal have traded the second and third positions throughout.

FROnT officials expect the survey results to continue largely uninterrupted through the end of the project this September (2016). In essence, they are confirming that the efforts to promote solar thermal for space heat are paying off, at least in terms of public awareness.

Greater Awareness at Home

It is encouraging that consumer awareness of solar thermal as a renewable heat source is growing. But there is always room for improvement. Here at home, solar thermal still faces the daunting task of becoming the default option when consumers think about renewable heat. The focus right now tends to be split among the several players without any one being clearly dominant. We need to change that if solar thermal is to realize its maximum potential.

We can start by doing a better job of explaining to consumers just how solar thermal works. Unlike other forms of solar energy, solar thermal does not convert sunlight directly into electricity. Rather, it converts ultraviolet sunlight into heat energy that can be used to produce space heat and hot water.

This kind of system is incredibly efficient when deployed using the right kind of equipment – like our patented SunQuest 250® solar collector panel. Our collector has been designed using evacuated tube technology. Evacuated tubes are incredibly efficient at harnessing energy and transferring it with very little loss. Virtually all of the energy produced is transferred to the system by use of a thermal liquid that flows from the panels’ manifold to a heat exchanger and back again via a closed loop.

Another thing we need to continually remind customers of is that a properly designed solar thermal system can pay for itself within just a few years of installation. After that, all of the savings resulting from not depending on traditional fossil fuels used to provide space heat, domestic hot water and/or heated process water is money that can be spent on more important things.

Solar thermal works as a source of renewable heat energy. People are being exposed to the reality of solar thermal with greater frequency, but there is still more to be done both here and abroad. We believe solar thermal will stand on its own as awareness grows and adoption increases.

Sources:

1.Solar Thermal World — http://www.solarthermalworld.org/content/europe-solar-thermal-best-known-renewable-heating-technology

Save

UK Solar Milestone Is Proof of Concept

Solar America Solutions has been an industry leader in solar thermal technology for years. Since our business was founded, we have been on the cutting edge of promoting solar thermal as the most cost-effective and energy-efficient way to produce space heat and hot water. To that end, we have developed our patented SunQuest 250® solar thermal collector panel, a highly efficient solar collector that requires just a small footprint yet delivers outstanding results.

Despite the great success we’ve had, we continue to face an uphill battle as we work with our partners within the industry to make solar thermal the dominant clean energy source for certain kinds of applications. The biggest challenge we face is not with the technology itself. It is convincing those who would benefit from solar thermal to make the move. It is with this understanding that we look at a recent milestone reached in the UK as proof of concept.

british

Solar Out Performs Coal

The kinds of projects we work on at Solar America Solutions involve individual solar thermal installations for commercial space heating and hot water. These projects are small compared to much larger projects designed to completely replace fossil fuels for electricity generation. In the UK, for example, they’ve been using solar thermal as a coal replacement for quite some time. That’s where the recent milestone comes in.

News reports say that solar collector panels in the UK produced more electricity than coal for an entire day. Solar has outpaced coal during peak sunlight hours in the past, but it has never produced more energy over the course of a full 24-hour period. On April 9 (2016) solar generated 4% of the total consumed thermal energy while coal accounted for 3%. An even better performance was recorded on May 8: solar produced 6% while coal remained at 3%.

Reaching this incredible milestone in the UK is proof of concept. In fact, it is better than proof of concept. Solar technology has come a long way over the decades to now be at a point where it is a viable replacement for all sorts of traditional options.

The Strength of Solar Thermal

Among all solar technologies, we believe the strongest contender in the marketplace is solar thermal. The strength of solar thermal is found in two of its main properties, beginning with the fact that solar thermal is based on heat energy rather than converting sunlight into electrical current. In a solar thermal installation, ultraviolet energy from the sun is converted to heat and then transferred to a heat exchanger via a highly efficient thermal liquid. That heat can be used to do nearly anything we currently use steam fossil fuels to do.

Second is the highly efficient nature of solar thermal. Take our patented SunQuest 250® solar collector panel as an example. Because it is based on the proven evacuated tube concept, there is very little energy loss involved. Nearly all of the energy collected is transferred as heat in a constantly circulating thermal liquid that makes it readily available very quickly. Furthermore, because solar thermal collector panels like our’s utilize ultraviolet energy, the technology works flawlessly even on cloudy and the coldest of days.

The success of solar thermal for large-scale electricity generation has already been proven. We now have to convince individual property owners that small-scale installations are equally beneficial. At Solar America Solutions, we know that to be the case. Every installation we have deployed for our customers has proven itself by delivering on its promises without fail. Solar thermal is, without a doubt, the best and most cost-efficient clean energy source in the market.

Sources:

  • Greentech Media – http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/for-the-first-time-ever-uk-solar-generated-more-electricity-than-coal

San Francisco Plan Will Make Solar Installations a Requirement

We all know that California has a reputation for leading the way in the adoption of new ideas. With that in mind, we are anxious to see what comes of San Francisco’s GoSolarSF project now that the local Board of Supervisors is recommending a permanent solar installation requirement. The Board is urging both the city and county to make permanent a program that requires solar installations on all new builds and any existing properties undergoing significant retrofits.

GoSolarSF was established in 2008 to encourage property owners to choose solar installations using rooftop solar collector panels. The program received a boost in 2014 when government promised to infuse the program with $10 million annually for two years. Since that time, more than $19 million has been invested in incentives for property owners.

sanfrancisco

Solar Server magazine reports on its website that the program has already met many of its objectives, a reality partially responsible for the Board of Supervisors recommending the city of San Francisco adopt new solar goals and require solar installations on new builds and retrofits.

What They Hope to Achieve

Assuming the city and county will implement the suggestions put forth by the Board of Supervisors, the question will become one of what they hope to achieve. There are a number of objectives:

  • Reduce the Cost of Solar – Widespread adoption of solar installations in San Francisco has already lowered the price of the technology by as much as 50% compared to what was in place when GoSolarSF was first established. Proponents hope to see pricing continue to drop in the future.
  • Affordable Housing – Because solar installations (particularly solar thermal) significantly reduces energy bills, installing solar equipment in new builds will make housing more affordable. San Francisco sees a lot of benefits here, with large blocks of apartment buildings.
  • Property Values – Proponents of the plan maintain that solar installations increase property values by reducing energy costs. This would be true for both commercial and residential structures.
  • Energy Goals – Requiring solar installations on new builds and significant retrofits will make it easier for the city and county to reach an annual sustainability goals by 2020.

San Francisco’s goals for solar installations may seem lofty in some places, but we have come to expect this sort of thing from California. They tend to see the future of sustainable fuel a lot more quickly than the rest of the country and are much more willing to be proactive about it.

The interesting thing about the Board of Supervisors’ recommendations is that they do not specify what kind of solar installation needs to be installed on future construction projects, only that something is installed to help the city meet its solar goals. Given that freedom, we believe solar thermal will win the day as the most efficient and cost-effective way to use solar energy technology.

Solar thermal is incredibly efficient at collecting energy from the sun and using it to generate heat that can then be used to create hot water, keep interior spaces warm, drive industrial processes, and more. In fact, we are just beginning to understand the seemingly limitless potential for solar thermal energy.

At Solar America Solutions, we are leading the way in solar thermal with our patented SunQuest 250® solar collector panel – the most efficient and cost-effective panel in the industry. The SunQuest 250® is the perfect collector panel for the kinds of installations we expect to see in San Francisco. If you would like to know more, do not hesitate to contact us.

Utility Monopolies Biggest Challenge to Solar Thermal

It is becoming increasingly apparent that solar thermal energy could be one of the most beneficial and important sources of renewable space heat and hot water the world has ever embraced. Solar thermal capacity already exceeds several competing renewables, including PV, and it continues to grow as builders, property owners, and politicians realize its potential. Yet there is still one challenge that could keep the solar thermal sector from reaching its full potential: the need for utility monopolies to protect revenue streams.

Before explaining the problem, it’s important to note that Solar America Solutions understands the predicament conventional utilities find themselves in. We do not envy their position. However, the difficulties faced by utilities should not be overcome by preventing new technologies from being adopted. There have to be other ways to address utility company problems. With that said, on to the explanation. We will use the current situation in Las Vegas as an illustration.

SunQuest 250

Squelching Solar Thermal Growth

Properties up and down the Las Vegas strip are gradually warming to the idea of utilizing renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on the grid. The Mandalay Bay Resort is just one example. The resort is now in the process of installing a roof-mounted solar collector array that, when complete, will be the largest such rooftop array in the country. This does not sit well with Nevada’s public utility commission. They have a responsibility to protect the interests of the state utility monopoly, so they cannot afford to see large numbers of Las Vegas resorts switching to renewables.

The state cannot legally prevent property owners from utilizing technologies such as solar thermal, but they can make life more difficult in other ways. One controversial strategy is to charge customers a substantial fee to reduce dependence on a grid system. According to Wired, NV Energy (the state utility monopoly) is looking to get tens of millions of dollars out of resorts that no longer purchase as much electricity.

As one expert put it, the idea of charging resorts for not buying power is nothing short of a “death spiral.” The utility monopoly charges the customer a substantial fee to compensate for reduced electricity consumption, prompting that customer to look for ways to totally disconnect in the future. Meanwhile, the cost of maintaining infrastructure is shifted to remaining customers who will also want to reduce electricity consumption in order to cut costs. They are hit with charges which, in turn, motivates them to get out of the system.

A Balance Must Be Found

No one denies there is an ongoing need to maintain the country’s power infrastructure even in the midst of exploring alternative technologies like solar thermal. But a balance must be found. Actively preventing the adoption of solar thermal and other options in order to keep money flowing to utility monopolies only guarantees that the country will never transition to an energy system that relies increasingly on renewables.

If we are truly serious about ending our dependence on fossil fuels and grid-based energy, we should be doing everything we can to promote things like solar thermal. Perhaps it’s time to change how subsidies are applied. Rather than subsidizing new renewable installations, perhaps that money should be used to subsidize utilities that stand to lose as more people switch. It is something to think about.

While industry leaders and politicians work to find a compromise, Solar America Solutions will continue developing our industry-leading SunQuest 250 solar collector panel. Systems based on this panel can generate more than 50% of the space heat and hot water you need for your commercial building.

Sources:

  • Wired – http://www.wired.com/2016/03/las-vegas-utilities-really-dont-want-strip-go-solar/

Minnesota Community an Example of Solar Efficiency

The temperature in rural Pine River, MN was near zero at the time this blog post was written. The cold temperatures and often overcast skies are such that most people do not consider the state a hotbed for solar power. But reality says otherwise. One need only take a look at the Pine River community to understand that solar is alive and well in an environment known for its cold and harsh winters.

Traveling the country roads of Pine River is an experience that includes plenty of pine tree stands and herds of cattle in the fields. But every now and again a clearing reveals a traditional ranch house with a surprising feature: a solar panel array on the roof or in the adjacent yard. Solar energy is so popular in this part of Minnesota that a local nonprofit known as the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) gives tours of area homes to show skeptics what is possible.

Property owners in the area use a combination of different solar technologies to achieve their purposes. For example, solar thermal is used to generate space heat and hot water to reduce dependence on grid energy. Some of the local homeowners have systems that are so efficient that they can completely shut off their traditional electric water heaters for 5 to 6 months of the year.

SunQuest 250

Understanding Solar Capacity

Most of us do not consider Minnesota a great place for solar installations because of its relatively high northern latitude and heavy winter storms. But according to RREAL, Minnesota has solar resources equal to that of Houston, Texas. The trick is harvesting the resource in the best way possible for both commercial and residential use.

To understand this, consider our SunQuest 250 solar collector panel. It is one of the most powerful and efficient collector panels in the industry, capable of producing up to 35,000 BTUs per hour. What you may not know is that the evacuated tube design of our panel is so efficient that there is almost no waste. Furthermore, the materials we use in the collector unit do not require direct sunlight to work. Rather, they rely on ultraviolet rays, readily available regardless of temperature and plentiful even in cloudy weather.

This means that one of our solar collector panels performs up to expectations even on cloudy and overcast days. Systems like this, operating in Pine River can convert sun energy into heat throughout the daylight hours, then use that heat to deliver hot water and space heat.

Supplemental and Replacement Energy

It is true that Minnesota experiences incredibly harsh winters that often include subzero temperatures. In the midst of a frigid winter, a traditional flat panel solar thermal system is unlikely to produce enough space heat and hot water to completely disconnect from the grid. But it with new technological breakthroughs, like the SunQuest 250 from Solar America Solutions, a significant supplement is offered that can reduce a property owner’s energy bills considerably.A SunQuest 250 solar thermal system can be a complete replacement for grid energy for hot water and heating needs or at least reduce the fossil fuel requirement by more than half. That translates into some serious savings.

What property owners are doing in Pine River can be done all over the country. Solar thermal can be used to provide space heat, hot water, and process heat for both commercial and residential structures.

Here at Solar America Solutions, we concentrate on commercial projects in the agricultural, education, healthcare, and government services sectors. Our systems have been installed in numerous states, providing green energy for hot water and space heat at government facilities, dormitories, industrial buildings, and more. We would be happy to discuss your project to see if we can provide an effective and affordable solution for your property.

Sources:

  • Brainerd Dispatch – http://www.brainerddispatch.com/news/3934539-here-comes-sun-solar-power-shines-snowy-tour

The Potential of Solar Thermal Just Beginning to Be Understood

The biggest challenge for any disruptive technology is convincing people that it will deliver as promised. If you want people to purchase a wearable computing device, for example, you have to prove to them that doing so offers some kind of tangible benefit. The same is true in the energy sector. In order for any renewable energy technology to succeed, it must be clearly demonstrated that the technology has real, quantifiable benefits.

Where solar thermal is concerned, we are just beginning to understand the potential of this outstanding technology. And as more people figure it out, we are seeing new ways of harnessing solar thermal being developed across the world. There are new solar thermal projects being undertaken in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and even here at home.

What is solar thermal? It is a means of harnessing energy from the sun in order to provide some sort of renewable thermal (heat) energy benefit. But make no mistake; solar thermal is not PV. Solar thermal does not convert direct sunlight into electricity that is then used just as grid energy would be used. Rather, solar thermal converts solar energy into heat that is infused into a thermal transfer liquid. The thermal liquid is then used for many various heat applications.

SunQuest250

The most common use of the technology today is that of providing space heat and hot water. Here in the U.S., Solar America Solutions is primarily focused on commercial applications that would include everything from hospitals to prisons to educational institutions and manufacturing processes. But in other parts of the world, solar thermal is heavily focused on residential buildings.Solar thermal works equally well for both but the return on investment is significantly better with commercial applications.

Large-Scale Electric Generation

Solar thermal, however, is not limited solely to producing space heat and hot water. For example, energy sector experts are now exploring the possibility of using solar thermal to provide supplemental energy for power plants. They believe the technology could start out as a supplement and eventually replace fossil fuels for power generation without the need for major power plant renovations.

The average coal or gas-fired power plant utilizes fossil fuels to create the steam that power turbines. Fossil fuels are the preferred energy source because they are reliable and cheap. Solar thermal has the potential to disrupt this decades-old paradigm. With some modifications to the steam turbine technology, it can provide the same volume of energy needed to turn electricity-producing turbines at a fraction of the cost of fossil fuels and without generating any pollution.

Admittedly, we are still a long way off from the day when power plants are run exclusively using solar thermal technology. But we are on the way to making that goal a reality. There are already numerous projects around the world testing the potential of solar thermal as a transition away from fossil fuels.

Solar Thermal for Your Business

If solar thermal can be developed on a scale large enough to make it practical for electricity generation (and it can be), imagine what it can do for your business. By installing a Solar America Solutions system based on our industry-leading SunQuest 250 solar collector panel, you can reduce your reliance on grid energy and save money at the same time.

Solar America Solutions has already installed our systems in a variety of commercial settings. Our customers enjoy a cost-effective solution for space heat and hot water that usually pays for itself in less than five years. You could enjoy the same benefits as well, by installing a highly efficient solar thermal system.

Sources

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_thermal_energy

Poorly Devised Government Subsidies Can Hurt Solar Thermal

We have seen plenty of success stories over the years relating to government subsidies helping encourage the adoption of renewable energy systems like solar thermal for space heat and hot water. The question is, are all subsidy programs successful? More importantly, do any government programs end up hurting solar thermal rather than helping? The answers to those questions are ‘no’ and ‘yes’, respectively.

Not every incentive program is a smashing success. And in some cases, as evidenced by a program in Britain that is now several years old, subsidies sometimes do more harm than good. A poorly devised government subsidy program can actually be self-defeating over the long-term.

The program in Britain, known as the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, was established more than five years ago. It is a program that provides financial incentives to residential and commercial building owners willing to install any of the qualifying renewable energy platforms in order to reduce their dependence on grid electricity. Installers have to be trained and government certified in order for their installations to qualify.

british-subsidy

The problem, according to Britain’s property developers, is that the cost of compliance is prohibitive. Installers who raced to be certified when the program was first announced found out later that remaining certified was not worth the cost. Property developers also discovered that it was cheaper to install solar thermal systems outside of the subsidy than to comply with its rules. The result: just 500 solar thermal projects are installed each month as opposed to 1,000 heat pump installations.

Smarter Subsidies Produce Better Results

The British government is obviously disappointed that more building owners are not taking advantage of the subsidies for solar thermal. They are fully convinced of the potential of solar thermal, yet they do not seem to understand that a subsidy does not achieve its intended goal if compliance costs more than the subsidy is worth. Such an ill-conceived subsidy is self-defeating in every respect.

The reality is that subsidies are valuable in sustaining solar thermal until the industry reaches a point of self-sustaining marketability. But what we need are smart subsidy programs that do not burden property owners and installers with costly and unnecessary rules. Despite what many people in the energy sector believe, rules are not the solution to every problem.

We hope the powers that be come up with a way to iron out the wrinkles in the British subsidy system in order to improve uptake of solar thermal. We have seen first-hand how cost-effective and efficient solar thermal can be for, commercial applications. From corrections facilities to poultry farms to university dormitories, Solar America Solutions has successfully deployed solar thermal technology in many different commercial arenas.

The advantage of solar thermal is efficiency. Rather than converting direct sunlight into energy, solar thermal converts solar ultra-violet (UV) energy into heat energy. That heat energy can then be used in any number of ways, just as you might use heat energy created from steam. We use it to generate space heat and hot water in commercial and industrial buildings.

Solar America Solutions has enjoyed excellent success over the years thanks to our industry-leading and US Patented SunQuest 250 solar collector panel. This panel, which is based on an evacuated tube design, is capable of very impressive results. More importantly, it utilizes ultraviolet energy rather than direct sunlight. That means the SunQuest 250 is actively collecting and transferring energy from the sun even on cloudy and overcast days.

In the end, Solar America Solutions knows that government subsidies are valuable for solar thermal success. But they need to be smart subsidies, not self-defeating.

Sources:

  • Sun, Wind & Energy – http://www.sunwindenergy.com/solar-thermal/installers-avoid-heat-incentive

Newly Developed Ink Shows Potential of Solar Thermal

Researchers and executives within the solar thermal industry have long maintained that our technology holds plenty of promise for the future as a source of energy that is not even close to being fully developed. Solar thermal has proved, even in its early stages of development, to be a dependable and cost-effective way to produce heat and energy for a variety of uses. Technological advances will only make solar thermal better in the future. One such example is a newly developed ink from Mexico that improves solar thermal efficiency by as much as 70%.

The conductive ink in question is the product of research being done at the Technological Institute of Lagoon in Mexico. As a three-layer ink capable of conducting heat both rapidly and evenly, the new paint-like fluid has already undergone rigorous testing to measure its effectiveness in heating public swimming pools.

Researchers coated water pipes with the ink at a municipal swimming complex, pipes that circulate the more than 70 million ft.³ of water utilized throughout the features within the complex. The newly painted pipes were able to increase the temperature of the water from 79°F to 98°F using nothing but energy from the sun.

Swimming No Diving Poolside Sign

Results in the lab are even better according to the researchers. An unpainted pipe exposed to the sun generated water temperatures of roughly 104°F in the lab. Coating the pipe with the nanoparticle ink increased the water temperature to 154°, the researchers said. That amounts to a 70% increase.

Practical Applications in the Future

The Institute has already submitted patent applications for their revolutionary new ink. They expect to have it on the market in Mexico in the very near future; the U.S. retail market will likely follow thereafter.

As far as practical applications are concerned, the solar thermal ink will not be very helpful for the kinds of things we do at Solar America Solutions. So why bring it up? Simply to demonstrate that we have barely scratched the surface in understanding the principles of how solar thermal energy creation and transmission work. What we do will only continue to improve as the industry learns more about how solar thermal can be better developed and deployed.

Consider this: if an inexpensive three-layer ink made with polyvinyl, titanium, tungsten, and copper can increase solar thermal production and efficiency by 70%, there must be other ways of improving solar thermal that we have not yet discovered. As powerful as the Solar America Solutions SunQuest 250 solar collector panel is right now, we expect it to be even more powerful in the future. With every bit of research, we are laying the groundwork for additional development that will enable us to do more with far less.

There are plenty of other renewable energy sources that have a place in the market. But most of them are highly inefficient when compared to solar thermal. Such inefficiencies are the very reason sustainable energy sources are nowhere near ready to replace fossil fuels and nuclear. Yet if there is any renewable with the promise of dethroning fossil fuels as the default energy source, it is clearly solar thermal.

Solar America Solutions is proud to be at the cutting edge of this exciting industry. We install solar thermal solutions based on our US Patented SunQuest 250 collector panel to produce space heat, hot water, and process heat for commercial applications. The SunQuest 250 is the most powerful and efficient solar thermal collector panel of its kind on the market, capable of providing more than 50% of the space heat and hot water your commercial building needs.

Sources:

1. Next Big Future – http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/10/conducting-ink-can-boost-solar-thermal.html

Solar Thermal for Process Heat Possible

Solar America Solutions has been focused on solutions designed to provide space heat and hot water using our US Patented SunQuest 250 solar collector panel since the inception of our company. Yet we have always known the potential of solar thermal goes far beyond these applications. How far? On one end of the scale are massive projects designed to utilize solar thermal for commercial power production. On the other end of the scale is the potential of solar thermal for producing process heat. It is the latter idea that seems to be gaining a lot of momentum in the marketplace.

Understanding the impact of this emerging market requires one to first understand what process heat is. In simple terms, process heat is heat energy that is used to power some sort of industrial or manufacturing process. Using steam to power industrial equipment would be one example, parts wash-down water another. What we are excited about is the fact that solar thermal is a very effective source of process heat when systems are designed and deployed properly.

SunQuest250

Large and Small-Scale Operations

You might be wondering what the potential of solar thermal for process heat is. We can say with all certainty that it is virtually unlimited. Most industrial or manufacturing process that utilizes process heat generated from traditional sources can do the same thing with solar thermal. It is simply a matter of designing and deploying the appropriate setup.

As just one example of a small-scale project, consider a newly installed cooking station in India that relies primarily on solar thermal. The cooking station was recently opened at the main canteen of a solar thermal power station located in New Delhi. Though we do not have all the details (they have been fleeting thus far) we believe we have an excellent idea of how the system could work.

Solar thermal energy is collected and transferred, by way of a solar thermal transfer fluid, to a storage facility or directly to the cooking device. That heat is then used to power different cooking blocks within the station. The heat is could be used for cooking, frying, and baking throughout the day, supplemented by LP gas only when the solar thermal source is unavailable, such as during late hours.

According to project officials, the most exciting thing about the cooking station is how the heat energy in store can be utilized and regulated to accommodate multiple cooking needs. Think of it in the same way as the typical residential oven and stove are utilized. Different kinds of cooking require different temperatures regulated by influencing the amount of energy introduced into the system. The same concept is used throughout the Indian cooking station.

Process Heat for the Future

The main challenge of process heat is that it tends to be needed at higher temperatures than would be required for space heat and hot water. But as the Indian project has demonstrated, solar thermal is more than capable of supplying that heat. Furthermore, the worldwide industry knows this. What has been done in India is not a secret.

Knowing that process heat is part of the future of solar thermal, the International Energy Agency has developed a set of guidelines to help manufacturing and industrial enterprises adopt solar thermal for process heat. The guidelines clearly lay out how to incorporate solar thermal without sacrificing the volume or integrity of process heat a given company requires for continual operations.

We are excited about the potential of combining solar thermal technology with industrial and manufacturing process heat. It is a market whose needs we believe can be very effectively addressed by way of the SunQuest 250 system from Solar America Solutions.

Sources:

  • Hindu Business Line – http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/ntpc-installs-solar-thermal-cooking-system-at-dadri-power-plant/article7796574.ece
  • Sun, Wind & Energy – http://www.sunwindenergy.com/solar-thermal/to-integrate-solar-heat-industrial-processes

French Solar Industry Regrouping around Commercial Arena

A one-day gathering of representatives from the French solar energy sector convened in October (2015) offered contrasting views of the industry, and its future, in that country. But reports out of the conference clearly indicated that manufacturers, designers, and installers are far from being ready to concede. They believe solar energy – and solar thermal in particular – has a strong future in France if the industry regroups to concentrate its efforts in the commercial arena.

Like many other countries in Europe, the French residential market for solar thermal has been in sharp decline for the last 3 to 5 years. Where homeowners and residential developers were very favorable to solar thermal adoption just five years ago, things are remarkably different today. But the problem being faced in France is not unique. Other European countries are experiencing the same thing. What they are all learning is that the declining residential market has nothing to do with the technology itself. Solar thermal is still as effective as it has ever been. The problem is that the residential market is so limited.

france

Industry representatives in France are coming around to that reality in greater numbers. In response, they are refocusing their efforts elsewhere. The two most promising arenas for the future are commercial and industrial buildings as well as multi-unit residential buildings – which are essentially seen as commercial projects anyway.

Larger Scale Better for Solar Thermal

Solar America Solutions has never focused our efforts on individual, residential applications of solar thermal. Again, it is not because the technology is ineffective. Our resistance to the residential market is based entirely on the extended ROI of that market. Larger scale deployment of solar thermal for commercial applications is a much better proposition because the sky is, essentially, the limit with ROI of less than five years in nearly every project.

For example, consider the fact that the SunQuest 250 solar collector panel with an absorption area of 88 ft2 requires just 21 ft² of open roof space for deployment. Just a single panel is capable of producing up to 35,000 BTUs per hour across a 10 hour solar day. That kind of energy production makes it possible for us to deploy a rather modest number of solar collectors to provide all the energy required for space heating and hot water in a typical commercial building.

The kind of production we are able to get from our systems would certainly be applicable to individual, residential homes. But homeowners still struggling in the midst of a recession that supposedly ended years ago do not have the money to invest in solar thermal. Residential property developers are also not interested in the technology because it simply adds to the cost of building at a time when housing starts still lag behind pre-recession peaks.

With all that said, the commercial sector is relatively strong by comparison. The same is now being observed in France and throughout the European Union. Industry representatives are coming to the conclusion realization that the success of solar thermal in France hinges now on the commercial market. Likewise, Solar America Solutions is entirely focused on commercial applications for industrial buildings, office buildings, government properties, healthcare institutions, manufacturing processes, and educational institutions.

Solar Thermal for Your Building

It is important for property owners to know that they do not have to have millions of square feet of interior or exterior space to make effective use of solar thermal. A modestly sized office building could benefit from the technology just as easily as a larger industrial facility. Solar thermal for your building is a very real possibility. Solar America Solutions would be more than happy to furnish you with the necessary information if you would like to know more about solar thermal.

Sources:

  • Solar Thermal World – http://solarthermalworld.org/content/france-industry-does-not-yet-surrender