Solar Thermal Water Heating 101


Solar thermal class syllabus
Instructor: Andrew Whitedove

Permaculture, renewable energy’s connection to permaculture.
What are basic needs? How can solar thermal collectors help meet those needs? Sanitation, warmth.

What are renewable resources? Water, oxygen, timber, fruits and veggies, meat, sunlight.

What’s inside the box?
Detailed description of solar thermal collector contents. View open collectors at shop.

How much heat can I expect out of a solar collector?
Review handout and calculate output for various locations.
Compare solar btus to other heat sources, stove, furnace, gas water heater, firewood Oak 25 Mbtus/cord. Convert btus to kwh and compare to electric water heater. 1 kwh = 3412.3 btus. Review handout btus for physical activity.

Ground rack or rooftop collectors? Advantages and disadvantages.
rooftop advantage: shorter pipe runs, protected from ground traffic, drainback freeze protection, more wind resistant.

groundrack advantage: thermosiphon easier, no potential for roof leaks, easier maintenance.

Site selection considerations, wind, shading, snow load.
Orientation, tilt angle.

Review handout: Basic system types and advantages:

Solar Controls: Hi limit, high pressure, dribble valve freeze protection, anti-scald, stagnation, pump
control, anti-reverse-thermo siphon valve, expansion tank, isolation valve, air vent, system fill/drain.

Design process: The first step of the design process is to determine the goal. Play game: If I had a solar thermal collector…
Contestants create scenarios and apply best system type, then add necessary controls. Diagram scenario on white board.

Thermistor experiment and thermistor slide rule.

Review solar resource box, check-out books, Q & A

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