The Solar Water Heater Built to Last

How it works:

Cold water, which used to go directly to your electric water heater, now goes first to the bottom of the solar storage tank. As the water in the solar tank is heated by the sun (via a heat exchanger coil wrapping the bottom half of the tank), the temperature of the tank rises. The hottest water collects at the top of the tank by stratification. The pre-heated solar water then moves from the top of the solar tank to your existing back up heater whenever hot water is turned on in the house. To the extent the solar system has pre-heated the water less energy is required by your back up system. If for instance your back up water heater is set at 120 degrees F, and the solar pre-heat temperature is above 120 degrees, your back up water heater won’t even come on. If the solar pre-heat temperature is less, your back up heater will turn on to "boost" the temperature to the thermostat setting of your conventional water heater.

SOL-RELIANT Operation & Installation Manual (pdf) The SOL-RELIANT™ system is fully automatic. Your 12-volt DC pump is powered directly by the small photovoltaic module. The brighter the sun, the faster it pumps. The pump will effect some circulation if there is enough sun to cast a slight shadow. Thus, it is self-regulating. If there is no sun, the pump has no power to operate, and the system will be in a state of rest, or "drained back". In the drained back state, the solar collector is empty. The system is not pressurized. A small reservoir tube built-in to the bottom of the collector holds enough fluid to keep the pump primed during circulation. With the pump off, the operating fluid drains back into the reservoir tube by gravity. There is no possibility of freezing. In the event of a power outage, your solar system can still operate during relatively sunny conditions.

System Diagram:

1. AE-56 high efficiancy thermafin collector (56 sq. ft.)
2. Low iron glass for maximum light transmission
3. Low point drain and fill valve
4. Warm fluid from solar collector
5. 36 watt photovoltaic (PV) module
6. PV module mounted to hide pipes (no visible plumbing!)
7. 12 Volt DC pump powered by PV module
8. High limit switch to prevent excessive temperatures
9. Manual on/off switch
10. Drain back reservoir attached just below bottom of collector
11. Heat transfer fluid--food grade propylene glycol
12. Insulation pad and wrat according to OSEIA standards
13. 12 volt DC electrical condutors
14. Flow meter measures gallons per minute
15. Temperature gauge, downstream mixing valve, and solar bypass valve to Brightway standards
16. Potable cold water in
17. Potable hot water out
18. 80 gallon solar tank with double wall heat exchanger
19. Two isolating ball valves, above and below pump

SOL-RELIANT™                   (503) 866-6437