Residential > Water Heating - Flat Plates

Overview

Solar hot water is an affordable, effective form of clean, renewable energy that can be taken advantage of by every homeowner in America. Using solar flat plate collectors, you can take advantage of the sun's abundant energy to lower your own energy costs. This means lower bills every month, free hot water for your home, and more energy independence.

Solar flat plate collectors are an affordable solution to rising energy costs. Solar flat plates are long lasting, durable, and cost effective. Flat plate collectors are traditionally used in warmer, sunnier climates. For cooler, cloudier areas, and areas that have long, cold winters, you may wish to consider our solar evacuated tube collectors.

Benefits of a Solar Flat Plate System

Installing a solar flat plate water heating system for your home can reduce your energy consumption by as much as 40% to 50%. It only takes 1 or 2 solar flat plates to heat over 80 gallons of hot water per day - all for free. 

Many people don't realize how much energy is used just to provide hot water in your home. In fact, 20% to 25% of the average family's energy consumption is just for heating water for things like laundry, cooking, cleaning, dishes, and showers.

Installing a solar flat plate system would mean significantly reducing - or eliminating - these costs. Furthermore, our solar hot water systems qualify for the Federal 30% tax credit, meaning that 30% of the installed cost of your solar hot water system is returned to you the next time you file your taxes. This means less out of pocket expense, and a faster rate of return on the costs of your solar water heating system.

There are also many other financial incentives that may be available in your area. Many states, counties, and other localities offer cash rebates, or other incentives to help promote clean, free, solar hot water. You can visit www.dsireusa.org for a complete listing of incentives in your area.

How a Solar Flat Plate System Works

A solar flat plate water heating system is a very simple and maintenance free way to immediately reduce your monthly energy costs. Both evacuated tube systems and flat plate solar hot water systems work in a similar manner.

In most residential solar hot water systems that use flat plates, cold water (from the street) flows into the bottom of the solar storage tank (1).

The solar loop’s heat transfer fluid (usually a water & glycol mixture) is pumped up to the flat plate collector (2).

This fluid passes through the inside of the solar collector, where it is heated with the sun’s energy (3). The flat plate collectors are very well insulated, allowing them to trap quite a bit of the sun's heat, while letting very little escape.

Now that the fluid has been heated by the sun, it is pumped back down to the solar storage tank, where it then heats the water for your home (4).

This is just one of the more common designs used in a home solar hot water system. Other designs are available, and can be used depending on your specific application.

Contact us today for more information, or to find a dealer near you!

Applications

In the average American home, over 25% of energy consumption comes from heating water. This hot water is often used for cooking, washing dishes, laundry, showers, and cleaning. A solar hot water system is an ideal solution to reduce ever rising energy costs.

Solar flat plate collectors are typically used in warmer, more temperature climates. The technology used in solar flat plates allows them to take advantage of warmer outside temperatures to increase their production of hot water. However, in colder climates, or areas where there are long, harsh winters, you may wish to consider our solar evacuated tube collectors.

Applications for solar flat plates are (but are not limited to) homes and residences, and homes located in the mid to southern areas of the United States (South of the Mason-Dixon Line).

Applying a solar hot water system can give you a number of benefits.

Save Money

By using the sun to heat - or preheat - your home's hot water, you can cut your water heating bill substantially. On many solar hot water systems, customers report that their hot water heating bills have been reduced by as much as 80%.

Over 30% of the average American family's electric bill goes directly to heating hot water. This means that a solar water heating system can immediately reduce your bills, and will continue to do so for decades to come.

Invest in a Better and Cleaner Environment

Solar water heating systems help you reduce energy consumption, and therefore, reduce the pollution associated with producing that energy. A 50% reduction in traditional energy use means a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions. So by installing a solar hot water system in your home, you are reducing your carbon footprint by half.

This results in a cleaner environment, and helps to lessen our reliance on traditional, polluting fossil fuels like coal and oil. You are able to contribute to a better tomorrow - all while saving money!

More Hot Water Available

With a solar hot water heating system, many times a solar tank is installed to work alongside your existing hot water tank. This means you will have double the storage - and twice as much hot water available.

So when you have guests, visitors, or want to take that extra long soak in the tub - you can do so without it jumping up your electric bill. You'll have more water - and hotter water - available. Hot water that you can feel good about using, knowing it was heated using the sun's energy for zero cost.

Packages

Solar Panels Plus offers complete solar hot water heating packages for your home. Pre-engineered, and complete with all the major components you need to have your very own solar hot water heating system.

These packages include the following:

Solar Flat Plate Collector

The solar flat plate collector is the primary component in your solar water heating package. The flat plates come in a variety of sizes, and there are a few options to choose from.

For smaller systems, or 2-3 person families, usually a set of 4' x 8' flat plates will be used. For larger families, cooler climates, or for heavier use, a larger panel may be included in your package instead.

All of our solar flat plate collectors are SRCC certified, which is a requirement that allows you to take advantage of the federal 30% tax credit. This substantially reduces the initial cost of your system. This certification also allows you to receive other financial incentives that may be available in your state or locality, such as cash rebates, grants, tax breaks, and more. For a full listing of the incentives available in your area, please visit www.dsireusa.org.

All of our flat plates are Buy American Act Compliant, meaning your purchase goes back to American manufacturers. We only carry the highest quality, and best performing flat plates on the market and back them with a strong 10 year warranty. This will allow you to enjoy comfortable, free, solar hot water for decades to come.

More information on our solar flat plate collectors.

Solar Water Tank

The solar water tank is another primary component of all solar water heating packages. The solar water tank contains a heat exchanger, which allows the heated fluid from the flat plate collectors to warm up the water inside the tank.

The solar storage tank is sized to accommodate the number of flat plate collectors you have installed. In most solar water heating packages, an 80 gallon solar tank is paired with 2 flat plate collectors. However, there are larger tanks available for additional storage, or bigger families.

Many of our solar water tanks have optional backup heat as well. This ensures that regardless of the weather conditions or the availability of sunlight, you will always have a steady flow of hot water. 

More information on our solar tanks.

Solar Pump

The pump is an important component in any solar water heating package. The solar pump circulates fluid through your solar hot water system. There are a variety of pumps and pump stations that are available. Many are customizable to support smaller or larger systems, a longer pipe run, or faster flows. We always help your installer select the optimal pump package to ensure you get the most out of your solar hot water system.

The solar pump station has a number of other essential components that are important to the installation and operation of the solar hot water system. For example, pressure and temperature gauges are included, which allows you or an installer to quickly check the pressure and temperature of the solar loop. Other items such as  flush and fill valves are critical to the activation of your solar hot water system.

The solar pump, and the pump stations, always work directly in conjunction with the solar controller. The speed of the pump and the time of it's activation and deactivation is always controlled by the solar controller. The solar controller works directly with the solar pump, and also monitors and adjusts the pump to give you the best performance.

These pump stations also come with a variety of customizable options, such as pump size, speed, various fittings, and much more.

More information regarding our solar pumps and solar pump stations.

Solar Controller

The solar controller is the 'brains' behind every solar hot water system. The controller receives information from various sensors that are installed near your flat plate collectors and in the solar tank.

The solar controller monitors when there is heat available - when the sun hits your solar array - then then turns the pump on. When the sun goes down, it deactivates your pump. It also controls the flow, increasing and decreasing it, depending on the outside conditions in order to give you optimal solar gain.

The iSolar series of solar controls makes it easier than ever before to quickly see exactly what your solar hot water system is doing, and monitor it's past performance.

Different solar controls are available for various applications, allowing for multiple pump control, data logging, or variable speed pump control.

Click here for more information on our iSolar controls and solar controllers.

Solar Line Sets & Other Components

There are a number of other components are needed to install a your solar hot water heating system. Solar Panels Plus has carefully engineered prepackaged systems, so that a solar installer can quickly and professionally install your solar hot water system - without having to search for these components.

A prepackaged solar water system from Solar Panels Plus guarantees a faster, more professional installation. And since your installer is spending less time during the actual installation, that means less upfront cost. Furthermore, our packages are fully warranted to keep you satisfied for longer, and our Technical Support Team is available with any questions or concerns you or your installer may have.

More information on our Solar Thermal Components.