HAVE A LOOK…….100% hot water well exceeded with cloudy weather…….
SEE THE SYSTEM LIVE 24/7 at
HAVE A LOOK…….100% hot water well exceeded with cloudy weather…….
SEE THE SYSTEM LIVE 24/7 at
HAVE A LOOK…….100% hot water achieved with miserable weather…….
An hour later, still climbing………
We have prepared this comprehensive guide to help you understand the value of a Surface Power solar hot water system and payback in SIMPLE to understand language.
We will include key points to look for in your research.
If you have any questions or need further explanations, just go to the bottom of the blog and post it, we will respond immediately.
Note: all our system configuration’s are design approved by “us” the manufacturer.
STARTING POINT: (make a good investment)
What are the key attributes you should be looking for in a solar hot water system…
1) Make sure the information you are receiving is from “the manufacturer”, not anyone in between, this means warranty, performance, lifespan, savings. (The manufacturers do not put this information out willy nilly, they have years of studies, global certifications and lots of customer’s, etc. to back it up.)
2) What is the warranty and is it achievable. Not alone do Surface Power have a long warranty but we have the ONLY 20 year performance warranty in the solar thermal industry. So far, we have far too many customers installing our systems where an existing solar hot water system was installed (even recently) and removed due to lack of performance. INVEST RIGHT, INVEST ONCE. Contact us for endless references…..not a problem, including the customers who have removed other systems.
3) Are you getting the latest and best technology for your buck !!, do the world certification bodies confirm this, can you see live data OR are you hearing phrases like, “can do up to 70% of your hot water”, OR ”one of the most efficient on the market” OR “these are market leader in washing machines so they must be the best solar hot water system”, etc. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR GETTING THIS WRONG, all manufacturers have to get government regulatory certification’s around the world and we lead these results in both theory and in practice. Ask us for the data…
4) And least but not last, is the installer you are using plugged into the manufacturer on a daily basis, are they well trained but more importantly, are they well supported by the manufacturer so your installation is optimised from day 1.
LETS MAKE A START ON THE PAYBACK….
Let’s assume everyone has an annual heating bill, this will consist of oil/gas plus immersion, logs, peat, etc..all added together totals your annual heating bill.
A significant amount of this fuel is used to heat water, heating water alone without central heating requirement can be the most inefficient use of your boiler. You need to heat hot water every day, 365 days of the year. When you heat your hot water in summer, you have to heat your boiler first, the pipes, floor, walls, etc between your boiler and your cylinder and finally your cylinder coil. All the heat in the boiler, pipes, walls, floor, etc is lost heat, up in smoke never to recovered.
SO WHEN YOU HEAT YOUR CYLINDER WITH SOLAR HOT WATER, YOU SAVE DIRECTLY THE AVOIDED FUEL USE FOR THE HEAT GOING INTO YOUR CYLINDER AND ALSO THE HEAT LOSS YOU WOULD HAVE HAD IN YOUR BOILER/PIPES, ETC.
NOW TO ANNUAL BILLS…
The following is a typical graph of a standard regular house in 2012 looking forward at €3,000/£3,000 a year with fuel inflation set only at 5% p.a. (if there is a world crisis, this could mean huge oil price increases beyond that)
SUMMARY EXPLANATION: (READ THIS… THIS IS THE IMPORTANT BIT)
This means that if you invested approx €7,500 [<- guesstimate price] in an SP501 Solar PRO system (which is an all year round configuration and our best selling hot water system), you would have paid for it very quickly, probably, much quicker than you would have imagined.
It’s important to understand the financial model behind a good solar hot water system. Once it’s paid for, it has no running cost, the fuel is free, therefore you have FIXED a big portion of your Energy Costs for the next 25 years AS BEING FREE (for clarity, thats zero cents/kWhr). You should view this in a similar way to fixing your mortgage interest rate.
In the payback above, at €7,500 over 25 years, that equals €300 a year (paid up front for the solar system) to save approx €65000 euros over the 25 year period which equals an average saving of €2,600 per year. (Year 1 savings – €1,350 and Year 25 – €4,354) so your payback is less than 5 years.
By fixing your energy cost now for 25 years, you save an avaerage of €2,600 a year every year.
a) Model based on actual 6 year old modelled installation, House rating c3.
b) Fuel inflation rate of 5% used.
c) Assumes a boiler season associated with a BER/EPC of C and above, (i.e., the insulation was upgraded)
d) Energy savings will be bigger if boiler is located outside.
e) Subject to the installation being installed as design approved.
f) The actual savings, energy values will be different for every building type and how the building is actually occupied and used. Typically higher hot water demand has higher yield.
WE HAVE ALWAYS FOUND THAT THE SOLAR HOT WATER INDUSTRY IS THE MOST CONFUSING WHEN TRYING TO EVALUATE PERFORMANCE AND THAT PROBABLY SUITS SOME PEOPLE.
Do you find it practically impossible to determine which system performs best.
Have you heard quotes like: “one of the best” or “one of the most efficient” or “look at the brand name, it must be the best”……
In Europe, there is NO solar hot water comparison system or standard, i.e. a simple, this product does X and that product does Y, UNDER THE SAME TEST CONDITIONS.
BUT, not everywhere is like Europe, the USA has such a rating system in place and many manufacturers and distributors don’t want you to know about it.
The USA decided that they would NOT accept any information on performance from solar hot water manufacturers, because THE RESULTS could be biased. They decided on a much tougher unbiased independent scheme.
They said: SEND US YOUR Equipment, We will put it into a government certified laboratory, test it under benchmark conditions, and publish the results in a public database for consumers and industry alike to make direct, balanced and fair performance and cost comparisons.
Here for your convenience, we have a download of the current database so you can now compare a Surface Power solar hot water system to every other solar hot water system in the world (over 900 other systems) as of 3/2/2012, the USA public performance database as maintained by SRCC.
ONE NOTE OF CAUTION: Many European solar collectors don’t want to be compared so they are sold in Europe with different brand or model numbers, if you cannot find a solar hot water collector on the list, simply compare the “Gross Size” figure, the “description” and google for a picture and you’ll find which one on the list is the one you are trying to identify. (Don’t worry if you find a lot of different collectors that fit, they are all probably made by the same manufacturer.)
OTHER LIST COMPARISONS
Surface Power’s solar hot water system was tested and certified in Palo Alto, California. The output performance per sqm aperture has been shortened to 2 decimal places for convenience.
Surface Power does not use software programs, excel spreadsheets or guesstimates when publishing performance. We use real data or government certifications. PROOF NOT PROMISES.
All the data in this list is public and maintained by SRCC, we assume that it is all accurate as downloaded. (we can confirm our results are as we hold the certificates). We are not liable for mistakes on the data as we are not the data controller making it public.
ALL HOUSEHOLDERS CAN NOW GET 8 HOURS FREE IMMERSION HOT WATER HEATING EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR* and avail of a government grant to do the upgrade.
NOTE: NO OTHER SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEM CAN ACHIEVE THIS PERFORMANCE, THAT’S WHY WE HAVE THE HIGHEST GOVERNMENT CERTIFIED TRNSYS PERFORMANCE OUTPUT IN THE WORLD – BAR NONE. (WE DON’T NEED SUNSHINE, WE JUST NEED DAYLIGHT, which is just as well, as we don’t get a lot of it in the UK and Ireland)
Imagine your electric hot water immersion ON for 8 hours on average for EVERYDAY of the year FOR FREE, that’s what an “all year solar hot water system” from Surface Power can do for you as shown in a recent UK study…Forget the waffle, put your money into an energy investment which proves publically everyday it delivers, not waffling about 70% of this and 50% of the other….(Fact not fiction, PROOF not Promises)……..
We generally don’t update performance too much in summer as, well, lets face it, if your solar solar hot water system can’t give you all the hot water you need in summer regardless of rain, then you should probably turn it into a hen-house or something more useful…
Its now Oct 18/19, moving towards winter, weather pretty terrible, lots of rain, wind, cold temperatures, etc BUT what about our solar hot water performance now we are in these challenging times.
BELOW, we have a system yesterday on the 18th October which achieved 100% of its daily hot water even in October, at 47C in the 300L cylinder, this is equivilant to 380L of hot water you would shower with or wash the dishes. To clarify, if you have a standard copper hot water cylinder, this is typically 80L in size. If you have your insulation upgraded, then you could have NO FUEL COSTS still in October….. (this system below is one of our “all year round solar hot water systems”, you need to specify that to your installer – SP501PRO)
HERE BELOW is another system yesterday, an SP501 PRO our best selling all year round solar hot water system, only 4.75 sqm in aperture, (that’s smaller than the aperture of 2 standard flat plate collectors), and it achieved tempertaures yesterday which standard solar systems can’t achieve on the hottest day of July. 67C degrees in the 300L cylinder and that equates to 510L of hot water you would use for showers and washing. ANOTHER DAY with no ENERGY BILLS….
AND EVEN A NORTH FACING SYSTEM below CAN ACHIEVE 100% OF DAILY HOT WATER REQUIREMENTS in October.!
AND WHAT ABOUT TODAY……………..the 19th October. Again, the weather is poor, with rain and cold temperatures.
Already, this all year system below is over 100% of daily hot water and it is ONLY 12:06pm, just after noon. And it is still running and will hit only 55C-60C by end of day as the weather is poor.
And another all year solar hot water system below again today……
Again, at 31C in the cylinder and pulling a Delta T with the collectors of 40.6C at 12:04pm, noon, this system will achieve ALL its daily hot water (40C) by end of day making this another FREE ENERGY DAY for this customer also.
8 HOURS OF FREE IMMERSION EQUIVILANT EVERY DAY, 365 DAYS A YEAR…. CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO TAKE SOLAR HOT WATER SERIOUSLY ……….
Follow these and other systems live at www.surfacepower.com/live
*, 8 hours is average, it will be higher in summer and lower in winter but averages over 8 hours as shown in a recent UK study into solar hot water performance. The system monitored was a Surface Power SP501PRO.
Our systems are all weather, long life aluminium systems with a special DZ90 hard coat covering only second to diamonds for its hardness.
These pictures are of an SP501 HEAT, a solar hot water & central heating combination system just as it reaches its 7th birthday.
The system was installed by a Surface Power trained installer and has had its 5th year fluid change as its only event since installed.
Its still looks as new as the day it was installed. It is also performing the same as the day it was installed with no noticable reduction in energy output, (as a heating system, this system is online and connected to our MPPTt systems in Florida)
NOTE: The cobwebs are optional extras….
(NOTE; the word “performance” in this warranty, what’s the point in having a 20 year warranty on a solar thermal collector if it does not also encompass performance similar to Solar PV)
1) The SP501 solar thermal collector is made from aluminium. Aluminium is an element [Al] in the periodic table, therefore does not degrade. That’s why the world’s most expensive products such as world famous super cars are made from it. Aluminium is expensive so you know that you are getting quality products when you buy products manufactured with aluminium.
2) The outside coating of the aluminium is electrochemically coated. This gives it the very black look. This places a special film of aluminium oxide called (DZ90 hard coat – developed by Surface Power) on the outside which forms an integral part of the aluminium itself. DZ90 hard coat is the second hardest substance known to man, only a diamond surpasses it in hardness and it can increase the hardness of a standard aluminium surface by 3 times. This is why, all our collectors are MARINE GRADE by default.
3) DZ90 hard coat properly specified and maintained will virtually last indefinitely, well in excess of 50 years and then, after that, only it’s appearance will fade, aluminium is still aluminium.
4) And if that was not enough, the long life pitched roof mounting kit is designed to exceed the requirements of the new UK MCS mounting standard (MCS 012) for pitched roofs to be implimented soon. This mounting kit is also aluminium, electrochemically coated with (DZ90 hard coat) as are the flat, ground and wall mounting kits.
1) Uniquely, the SP501 collector is NOT assembled. It is a factory manufactured unit. It ships in one piece and arrives in one piece. There are NO service parts or components. Nothing to replace, nothing to go wrong.
2) A critical component is the internal copper jacket, a one piece high pressure water jacket. Copper is also an element [Cu], a semi-precious metal and also very expensive. It is an excellent conductor of heat which is fundamental at removing the energy from a very high efficiency solar collector into your hot water cylinder or air conditioning system.
3) Copper has a life span typically of 50 years in a standard piping configuration when pinholes may appear due to wear from the water flow BUT the SP501 operates in a proprietary TDLF (thermodynamic laminar flow) solar technology system with a Reynolds Number less than 2000; so has multiples less friction and wear than a standard solar hot water circuit during its life. This will further extend the long design life of this one piece integral copper jacket far beyond its design life of 50 years.
1) What is remarkable about the SP501 solar collector is that it has no moving parts or consumables. It DOES NOT have any heat-pipes, seals, rubber gaskets, jubilee clips, click fit connections, attic insulation, snap connections, snap down covers, plastic fittings, rubber o-rings or other components which can fail, warp, crack or degrade sometimes without your knowledge.
2) TDLF – Thermo Dynamic Laminbar Flow (developed and patented by Surface Power) also DOES NOT suffer from overheating and has excellent performance even in bad weather, hence its catalogue of impressive leading government certifications around the world including the world’s highest government certified TRNSYS modelling output per sqm at 783 kWhrs/m2/yr.
3) It is simply a “very very very” expensive piece of aluminium and copper but because it uses proprietary heating technology developed and patented by Surface Power, it produces the most power per sqm. It is simpler, it is more reliable, there is nothing to fail except copper and aluminium and hence has a significant life span over existing solar thermal collectors. Its design life was to be 50 years plus and it meets and exceeds that design requirement.
4) There are NO stainless steels/steels/tins/alloys/rubbers/push fittings, quick connects, etc to fail or rust.
5) There are no special proprietary tubes to make it expensive to service. SP501 tubes actually have to block direct sunlight with their coatings as the science that runs in the systems is so powerful at difused light conversion; but the tubes are easy to change and inexpensive to purchase (if ever required).
6) The SP501 and its system science were designed to provide investor and customer security for the duration of contracts of performance such as needed for the UK’s Renewable Heat Incentive. The SP501 provides the risk free warranty for investors to invest in RHI tariffs. RHI Investments also come with fixed cost maintenance contracts for the 20 year term of the RHI. SEE MORE ON THIS NEW RHI TARIFF PROGRAM AND INVESTMENT MODELS HERE .
Corporate Responsibility, Recycling & the Environment
1) As everyone is aware, we cannot throw away our products anymore. The SP501 has been designed to be the most environmentally responsible solar collector in the world.
2) All manufacturers will soon come under recycling directives where products must be taken back for recycling or must be of such commercial interest that they can be sold by the owner for recycling;
This means when you now choose the SP501 solar thermal collector, you choose;
To maintain the warranty, you simply need to service your system according to the requirements of your climate, typically 4 to 5 times over the first 20 years and have your system in our online network.
Note that the last opportunity for Surface Power installer training in Ireland is currently closing and nearly full. Only a handful of installers are trained to install Surface Power systems each year.
(UK installers can email firstname.lastname@example.org to get details on UK training opportunities)
Trained installers get access to Solar Central heating projects, Commercial solar projects and can access our customer networks in their areas.
The only training dates are 4th, 11th and 18th October. Location:Midlands (its a first come first served and only a few places are remaining), no more access will be available until 2012.
Areas where our customers need extra capacity are Dublin, Cork, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Louth, Monaghan, Wexford, S. Tipperary, Carlow, Clare, Kerry and Waterford.
We provide our trained network access to marketing campaigns, FREE design and support services.
We teach you how our technology works all year round. How to do solar central heating systems and get “design approval” from us. This is FREE and part of our quality control process which protects customers and ensures they get the best service along with the best product.
You also get a 10 year warranty with training and can also access suub contract installation work in the UK under the new RHI (renewable heat incentive)
Training is effectively FREE when you buy our systems; there is a €200 cost which is returned as a credit note which you can use against the purchase of our systems.
Email the distributor coordinator at email@example.com with your details and someone will contact you with information.
This is why you see HUGE differences between performance of solar vacuum systems and why there is so much confusion. We have many requests from people who have just bought Solar Vacuum systems and they can’t understand how our customers systems are producing so much more energy than them.
THIS POST WILL EXPLAIN THE MAIN DIFFERENCES…
NOTE: This is the first time you have probably heard anything about the different generations of Solar Vacuum Technology anywhere.
FIRST Generation Solar Vacuum Systems, (about 35 years old), still being sold on the market, always compared to flat plates due to their low performance.
How to recognise one ?, simple, it has a single wall (not double skinned vacuum) clear glass tube and a strip of absorber inside.
Fig: First Generation Solar Vacuum System – (approx 35 years old)
Whilst they are still available to buy in very well known BRAND NAMES, they are quite old at this stage. How did they come about. Simple, a bright Engineer about 35 years ago looked at flat plates in sunny climates and made an assumption that if he put the strips of a flat plate absorber into glass tubes, he would improve on the output of flat plate collectors in cloudy climates. Here is a picture of a flat plate solar collector with its covers off.
He simply decided to split the absorber and put it in glass tubes. A new version of this has a direct flow pipe instead of a heat-pipe. THIS IS FIRST GENERATION SOLAR VACUUM HOT WATER TECHNOLOGY.
SECOND Generation Solar Vacuum System’s, (about 25 years old), still being sold on the market, noted for their lack of performance in poor weather and over-heating problems in sunshine. THIS IS THE MAJORITY OF SOLAR VACUUM SYSTEMS BEING SOLD ON THE MARKET TODAY AS THE COLLECTORS CAN BE SHIPPED BROKEN UP IN LONG BOXES.
You will always hear about sizing to only do 90% of your hot water in case of overheating (of course this makes it poor performing in winter), the adding of dump radiators, etc. with this technology. Here is a picture of this type of solar heat-pipe. There is a condensing heat-pipe running into a twin walled vacuum tube with a sealing cap to hold in the heat. The tube always carries a selective coating so it looks black on the outside. The heat pipe then plugs into the manifold and heats up the manifold. When the manifold gets heated, it transfers the heat to the water passing through. This process is fairly inefficient.
Fig: Second Generation Solar Vacuum System – (approx 25 years old)
THIS IS SECOND GENERATION SOLAR VACUUM HOT WATER TECHNOLOGY.
THIRD Generation Solar Vacuum Systems, (about 8 years old), still being sold on the market BUT only a few suppliers make this generation of system, it is noted for more stable performance than Heat Pipes and has reduced the overheating issues on really hot days. It is more expensive to produce and unless it is shipped in one piece, it has to have rubber seals and run at low pressure. THIS IS TYPICALLY CALLED A U-TUBE OR DIRECT FLOW COLLECTOR.
Here is what it looks like:
You can see that the circulating water runs into the glass tube via copper pipes unlike any of the 1st and 2nd generations where the water only runs in the manifold. The tubes are twin walled and have a selective coating and appear black on the outside.
ONE MAJOR DRAWBACK (and it is a biggie): If this type of collector comes as a kit (and not in one piece out of the box) and has to be assembled at the installation site, then it will cost a significant amount of money to change a tube. The system will need to be drained down, tube changed and then refilled, this is in effect a FULL SERVICE every time you want to change a tube. Typically the new tube will come with all the pipework so can be over £120 a tube ON TOP of the full service cost.
If the collector is one piece and can’t be broken down, then this does not apply, the changing of a glass tube takes seconds, like changing a light bulb and is a few quid at most. THIS IS THIRD GENERATION SOLAR VACUUM HOT WATER TECHNOLOGY.
FOURTH Generation Solar Vacuum Sytems, (about 4 years old), this is proprietary technology to Surface Power. It involves a system wide science called TDLF (thermodynamic laminar flow technology) coupled with MPPTt, (Maximum Power Point Tracking – thermal). Several patents cover this technology which has been developed to create high powered solar air conditioning and solar central heating systems.
You can see its performance in the samples of our live systems 24/7. http://www.surfacepower.com/live.html
The key thing to notice is the different power band, (kWhrs produced) that is the difference in temperature between the collectors and the cylinder/pool/heating system, etc. Normal solar systems go from +3C to +7C and switch on and off all day. Surface Power systems do not work like this, they operate a DELTA T of between +10C and +25C bringing much larger amounts of power in any given day; and can stay running ALL DAY. Even at a DELTA T of +15C, it is still cloudy and many times higher than the average of any of the 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation solar vacuum technology’s.
Here is a Surface Power SP501 solar collector, (we only have the one type, size, shape, tube quantity), why have more than 1 type of solar collector ?, you can’t improve on perfection…
THIS IS FOURTH GENERATION SOLAR VACUUM HOT WATER TECHNOLOGY AND ONLY AVAILABLE FROM SURFACE POWER.
Flat Plate solar hot water collector use is collapsing globally in favour of Vacuum type collectors.
All you have to do is look at the latest statistics produced by the IEA and ESTIF in Brussels.
The stats from 2009 (stats are always approx 2 years behind) show a collapse in the use of Flat Plate collectors in NEW Solar Hot Water installations. In 2009, newly installed solar hot water systems were 78.3% using evacuated tube type technologies and only 17.3% were flat plate technologies.
Customers, Installers, Distributors and Projects are all moving away from Flat Plate collectors in their droves.
Source:ESTIF and IEA