Types of solar thermal systems
The two types of solar thermal systems are active systems and passive systems. An active solar thermal system is made up of circulating pumps which use controls. In a passive system, there are less working parts but cannot be used where freezing temperatures my occur. Most solar thermal systems use storage tanks which hold the heated water. Collection systems may use one or two insulated tanks.
When used in residential applications, two types of active system collectors can be chosen. Flat Plate solar collectors are made up of dark absorber plates housed in well-insulated boxes, covered by plastic or glass. Evacuated Tube solar collectors are made up of copper vacuum pipes that transfers the heat from within the evacuated tubes up to the manifold, and the heated water is circulated to the buffer water tank.
Selecting a solar thermal contractor
When it’s time to select a contractor, there are a few key questions which you need to ask in order to determine a good fit.
- Ask the contractor to help you determine your savings from using a solar thermal system.
- Ask where the solar thermal collectors should be placed to achieve the maximum efficiency.
- Ask the contractor for their recommendation as to which size and type of solar thermal system is appropriate for your application.
- Ask how efficient the recommended system is compared to other options.
- Ask the contractor what permits are required in your area.
If you have questions about the different types of solar thermal systems available, or how to choose a contractor, call Smith Sustainable Design.