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Commercial Solar Hot Water Systems | What Are They? (2023 Guide)

Many commercial building owners now prioritize renewable energy sources due to environmental concerns and growing energy costs. Business building decision-makers can cut and manage their energy expenditures with the help of commercial solar hot water systems and manage and control long-term costs.

 

The use of solar thermal hot water systems, often known as solar hot water systems, is widespread worldwide, from large residential buildings to commercial complexes. This article will give you everything you need to know about commercial solar hot water systems, their benefits, and additional FAQs that you must keep in mind if you're interested in having one.

What Is Commercial Solar Hot Water Systems?

Solar Panel Energy Process

At the beginning of the 20th century, solar hot water systems were created to convert sunlight energy into heat. In the summer, solar water heating systems operate at excellent efficiency [1], converting up to 80% of the energy that comes into contact with the system into heat. About 20 to 25 percent of the energy is transformed throughout the winter. 

 

By preheating water before it enters the typical hot water tank, smaller systems are well suited to delivering hot water for household consumption. More powerful solar water heating systems can heat large amounts of water for agricultural uses like milk production.

For many businesses, installing solar hot water systems is a fantastic investment [2]. Commercial buildings' hot water heating expenses from electricity mount up. Hot water production accounts for most of the energy usage in the hotel business. Organizations all over the country are starting to recognize the potential of solar water heating due to various factors, including lower energy costs.

How Commercial Solar Hot Water Systems Work

The operation of solar thermal or hot water systems is direct: Sunlight heats solar panels, which also heat the water that flows through them. Once heated, the water is prepared for usage.

 

Two Varieties of Solar Hot Water Systems

 

1. Active System 

 

A pump is used in an active solar hot water system to move water around the system. With dynamic hot water systems, water heating expenses can be cut by up to 80%. Direct circulation (open loop) and indirect circulation are the two different categories of active systems (closed loop).

 

2. Passive System

 

Convection is used in the passive solar hot water heating system rather than a pump to circulate water. Passive systems are the least expensive to install than active systems and have the solar thermal systems' quickest payback times (often 3 to 5 years).

 

Even though they are typically less effective than active systems, they can be more dependable and durable. They can cut the cost of heating water by up to 75%, which is still less than active systems. Additionally, there are two categories of passive systems: thermosiphon and integrated collector (storage passage).

Two Types of Collectors for your Solar Hot Water System

1. Flat Panel Solar Collector

For individuals on a tight budget and in locations lacking frost, flat plate solar hot water collectors are the best option. These systems utilize copper pipes that pass through a collector with glass covering and are occasionally connected to a water storage tank on the roof, though typically, the storage tank is on the ground. Copper pipes are heated by the sun, and the hot water that results is fed back into the storage tank.

2. Evacuated Tube Solar Collector

This kind of solar hot water system is more efficient and better suited for places prone to frost because it doesn't crack when the temperature falls below freezing.

 

On a humid day, evacuated tube systems can still collect heat from the air because they don't require direct sunshine. When the light is not directly shining on the collectors, they operate more efficiently overall and outperform flat panel systems, for example, very early or late in the day. They are more effective, more durable, and less expensive to repair.

 

The two glass tubes that make up evacuated tube solar hot water systems are fused at the top and bottom. A vacuum is created by evacuating the area between the two tubes. A slow-flow circulation pump that pumps water to an underground storage tank is linked to a standard manifold at the intersection of a copper pipe flowing through the center of the tube. As a result, the water is heated during the day. The water stays hot for several days since the tank is so well insulated.

 

With both systems, the sun typically generates enough heat to provide you with plenty of hot water for most of the year. However, when there are several chilly days, your system will need support (most likely in winter). Here is where your gas or electric booster comes in. This warms the water when the sun doesn't provide quite enough heat to do the job.

Applications of Solar Hot Water Systems

Solar hot water systems have several applications in different industries and have helped various businesses conserve their utility bills. The following are some of the most common commercial solar hot water system applications:

 

Breweries and Wineries

The primary use of a significant amount of water is to clean processing equipment and process heating. Solar hot water systems offer a practical solution for cutting the cost of washing and cleaning.

 

Cafeterias and Restaurants

Restaurants and cafes may depend on a solar hot water system to consistently deliver a portion of the daily hot water load, from boiling water in the kitchen to washing the day's dishes.

 

Dairy and Agricultural Farms

Dairy and agricultural farms frequently use a considerable amount of hot water, and the cost of heating that water can make up as much as 40% of the energy bill, depending on the farm. Solar hot water can assist in controlling long-term costs by lowering the energy bill for heating water.

 

Gyms and Spas

The use of solar hot water systems to supply hot water for heating pools, Jacuzzis, and showers demonstrates to customers and members of nearby spas and gyms how committed a specific business is to conserving energy for the environment. Owners will enjoy the money they save by cutting the energy bill's water heating portion. 

 

Laundromats, Hotel, and Laundry Facilities

Large volumes of solar-heated water are used in laundry facilities to wash clothes, uniforms, towels, and linens. With minimal maintenance, solar thermal systems can offset the bulk of heating expenditures for up to 25 years or more.

 

Solar Air Conditioning

As for solar air conditioning, solar can supply the heat for substantial cooling projects using absorption chillers.

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Advantages of Solar Hot Water Systems

Here at Everything Solar, we offer efficient and effective commercial solar heating systems for your property, and they provide the following benefits:

 

Eco-Friendly – On average, conventional electric water heaters release two tons of CO2 into the sky. Solar water heaters don't emit any greenhouse gases and use clean energy.

 

Cost Effective - Solar thermal systems are economical because they heat water more effectively by using the sun. Depending on how much hot water you use, you could notice a 38% savings in your energy bill.

 

Good Return on Investment - One of the safest investments you can make is to install solar panels on your building. They are designed to last for at least 30 years, and the system pays for itself in 3 to 5 years.

 

Tax Credit - In addition to accelerated maintenance costs and some local utility rebates, the government offers a Renewable Energy Federal Tax Credit for solar water heaters.

Frequently Asked Questions about Commercial Solar Hot Water Systems

1. Can I replace my traditional gas or electric hot water system with a solar water heating system?

A solar hot water heating system can meet most of your hot water demands. However, there are times when the solar hot-water system might only supply some of the hot water you require, such as when it's cloudy or raining.

 

We strongly advise that you install a solar hot-water system in addition to your current system or that you install the system with a solar storage tank that has a backup fuel source of either gas or electricity.

 

2. Can I utilize a solar hot water system to save money for my business?

Yes! For enterprises, industrial buildings, and manufacturing plants, solar hot-water systems can seek to satisfy the majority of their hot water needs. These uses typically require a great deal of hot water; thus, a solar hot water system can be very advantageous.

 

3. How much maintenance is necessary for a solar hot water system?

A solar hot water system requires extremely little maintenance, particularly with closed-loop systems. Closed-loop solar hot-water systems are built to function with minimal supervision. The controls manage the system's everyday operations and control the pump.

 

4. Can I use some of the solar energy I generate for my hot water system?

Consider a power solar energy diverter if your solar power system generates more daily electricity than your company can consume. With this intelligent technology, you can redirect part or all of the excess solar energy your system would typically send to the grid and use it to power your electric or solar hot water systems. They cost only $1,700 when fully installed for a hot water system (plus any travel costs).

 

This system is sensible because you are using all of the solar energy from your solar power system, and it is also an affordable investment.

 

References:

1. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/solar-water-heaters

2. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/estimating-cost-and-energy-efficiency-solar-water-heater