One of the myths of solar hot water systems is that you need to be living in super hot climates for them to work, especially for commercial systems that need large amounts of heated water.
The fact is that solar hot water systems work just fine in colder, northern states. Let’s take Wisconsin and Washington D.C. These two areas aren’t exactly sunbathing Beach Blanket-Bingo weather during the winter months, so people assume that solar hot water isn’t going to work there.
Well, don’t tell that to the fire fighters in Madison, Wisconsin, who are using solar for heating water used for hot showers, laundry, and for washing down their gear after fires. In fact, this Wisconsin solar fire house is part of the greenest building in America as September 2010. You can read more about the building here.
And what about Washington D.C., home to last year’s record blizzards and snowfalls? Don’t forget that President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House (and then Reagan took them off for political reasons. )
But that was years ago. Surely, no one would think about putting solar hot water on a building there today, right? Wrong. Below is a very modern (2010) example of a small apartment building in Washington with our very own Free Hot Water 7000 series solar collectors.
Here’s the truth: Solar hot water/thermal systems work great in cold climates. It’s the same concept as when you leave your car in a sunny parking lot in January with the windows closed. The sun’s free energy bakes the air inside of the car. The same concept holds true for our solar hot water systems, only a solar collector works even better because of its design and the design of the installation.
Now, there is another truth, and that is that solar thermal systems do not work as well as those in warmer climates. That is, solar hot water works, but a D.C. installation is going to need more solar collectors to produce the same amount of annual hot water as an Arizona installation with the same hot water needs.
The other thing to be aware of is that regardless of the outside temperature or solar hot water production, modern solar systems are always connected to a conventional water heating system for back up. So, whether or not the sun is out or it’s raining on a particular day. you’ll never be without hot water,
So, if anyone in a cold climate tells you that solar hot water won’t work with their apartment building or fire house or hotel–or whatever–send them over to Free Hot Water. We’ll set them straight.
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