Solar Thermal Basics
These systems provide hot water for domestic use and space heating. There are no subsidies since this technology has a shorter payback period. However, New York State and Federal Tax credits are available and make solar thermal very affordable. Several local installers are available.
How It Works
Solar collectors “collect” or gather the sun’s energy, transform its radiation to heat, then transfer that heat to water via a heat exchanger. Solar thermal utilizes either evacuated tubes or flat risers.
Evacuated Tube Collectors
Shown above is an evacuated tube. These collectors achieve temperatures up to 350 degrees F. The collectors are made up of rows of transparent glass tubes, each tube containing a metal absorber tube attached to a “fin” that absorbs solar energy and inhibits heat loss. Air rises to heat copper metal piping containing an antifreeze solution to be transferred to your domestic hot water supply.
Flat Plate Collectors
A typical flat-plate collector is an insulated metal box with a glass or plastic cover (called the glazing) and a dark-colored absorber plate. These collectors heat liquid or air at temperatures less than 180°F.