What is it that most people think of when talking about solar thermal technology to generate space heat and hot water? Residential applications involving single-family homes and multi-unit apartment blocks. Since the inception of the solar revolution, the world has focused primarily on engaging individual homeowners to look at solar as a source of supplemental energy. Now things are changing. We are beginning to see the transition from a residential focus to a commercial one.
According to the Global Solar Thermal Energy Council (GSTEC), single-family homes have long been the most significant sales segment for solar thermal in Europe. It has not caught on as much for residential homes in the U.S., primarily because our solar focus has been on photovoltaic conversion of sunlight into electricity. Even so, commercial applications of solar thermal are becoming more important as technology makes them more affordable, practical and energy-efficient.
The GSTEC predicts a massive worldwide shift away from residential applications to commercial applications over the next 5 to 10 years. The shift is already being observed in places such as China, Austria and France, in which residential sales have fallen in the last few years. Solar thermal manufacturers in those countries agree that commercial sales will outpace residential by 2020.
Here in the U.S., the GSTEC sees government incentive programs driving commercial sales of solar thermal applications for the next decade. They cite California, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina as just four examples of states now making incentive programs available to commercial enterprises. They believe those incentives will spread to other states in the coming years.
By all accounts, it appears as though the global solar thermal market is ready to begin aggressively pursuing commercial applications for sales. It is not that the residential market has no more room for solar thermal (it does); it is just that the commercial applications are much broader and more cost-effective.
Following Our Lead
At Solar America Solutions, we would like to think that the rest of the world is following our lead in terms of commercial solar thermal applications. Since the inception of our company, we have focused solely on the commercial sector with our SunQuest 250 solar thermal collector unit and related equipment. We believe in the power of solar thermal for commercial applications because we have seen great results from implementing it.
A SunQuest 250 system is capable of producing nearly all of the space heat and hot water a building needs with greatly reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Installing one of our systems takes advantage of the sun’s ultraviolet rays to generate heat that is transferred to a heat exchange system by way of a thermal liquid. The efficiency of our system enables it to get the job done with only a small amount of open space needed on a rooftop or adjacent property.
To date, we have successfully installed our solar thermal systems at prisons, educational institutions, agricultural operations and business enterprises throughout the Midwest. Our customers have been so satisfied with the results that we have been asked to return to deploy future installations. For example, one of our first projects was replacing a boiler system at a poultry farm with a solar thermal solution that has provided nearly all of the hot water necessary to wash the farm’s eggs. The customer was impressed enough that we were invited back when it came time to build a new facility.
We agree that the future of solar thermal lies with commercial applications. That is why Solar America Solutions is proud to provide the SunQuest 250 system for hot water and space heat.
Solar Thermal World – http://www.solarthermalworld.org/content/global-view-solar-thermal-markets-transitioning-residential-commercial