Industries News

Investing in solar hot water

by Bruce Mulliken, Green Energy News

Ah, a steaming hot shower: How refreshing it is.

Those hot tubs with their churning, bubbly warm water; soothe yourself; soothe yourself and your guests. (Would a cold tub be so inviting?)

The Sun is bright, but the air is cool, why not a dip in a heated pool?

It isnt just the detergent that removes grease from pots and pans. Its also the hot water. Imagine washing dishes in chilly water? Many do, probably millions planet-wide.

Detergent companies make laundry products that wash clothes in cold water. But hot water works better, and is often recommended. Cold water wont kill microscopic bugs in our dirty linens. Bugs will survive, wet and washed.

Those who experience the dryness painful hangnails and all of forced air heating with furnaces would appreciate a hot water radiant system in their homes. Those systems are dry too sometimes, but not nearly as so. Hot water baseboard heat, radiators, in-floor heating, whatever, all trump dry, forced hot air systems.

Starting to see the picture? We like hot water, we use a lot of it and we get ourselves into it as often as we can, it seems. Heated water is consumed in large amounts whether we live in the frozen latitudes or nearer the balmy equator.

But its not just in our homes where hot water goes down the drain in copious amounts. In hospitals, hotels, restaurants and in some manufacturing, hot water flows almost constantly.

Suffice to say, it takes considerable energy to make all that hot water. All of us use hot water in varying amounts so its inaccurate to guess at what percent of our daily use of energy is consumed making hot water. No matter, though; its considerable and its largely fossil fuels that are used to make our water piping hot.

We can do better than fossil fuels. Its relatively easy to let the Sun make hot water for us. Its so easy that the technology is largely ignored. Solar photovoltaics, and now solar thermal power generation, make headline news, but simple solar water heating rarely shows up on the radar screen of alternative energies.

Solar heated water is easy to store too. When the sun goes down, solar electric systems, more often than not, turn to the grid to take over to supply power, dirty emissions and all. But storing solar heated water takes little more than a low-tech tank and possibly a heat exchanger. The tank and heat exchanger can be off the shelf items or custom made to match the size of the system.

When Zager Plumbing & Solar, of Deerfield Beach, Florida won the contract to install a 4000 gallon solar hot water system at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, on the Caribbean isle of St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, it chose to fabricate a hot water storage tank that could be easily shipped and on arrival fit through existing doorways.

The storage tank was crated, shipped and arrived at the hotel in a collapsible form. Dale Zager, President of Zager Plumbing & Solar explains, So long as you have a place that is flat, level and can support the weight of the water in the tank, Zager Plumbing & Solar can design, crate, ship and roll this storage tank through a 19 inch doorway and have it set up in a matter of hours.

The companys collapsible storage tank is available in any size and can be duplicated in any hotel/resort or commercial building, whether the project is in the beginning phases of construction or in an existing building.

Long before installation, Zager will do a cost analysis, too. Every facility will vary in cost depending on size, but for an example, in a hotel such as the Westin, the return on investment (ROI) is approximately 4.3 years, making this approximately a 23% yearly rate of return: Much better than money in the bank.

Zager noted that, Since the Westin St. Maartens location is outside the United States, they unfortunately are unable to capitalize on the rebates and credits being offered by our local, state and federal government here in the United States. Zager went on to say, Although the ROI for this foreign solar hot water application is still very impressive, a business within the United States which is considering this size of solar hot water system will see a significantly better ROI when the credits, rebates and incentives are factored into the equation.

Zager will travel the world to install the companys solar hot water systems, I personally come to your location anywhere in the world and provide a Turn Key price to design, build and install your solar hot water system. This Turn Key price will include an extensive survey, system analysis, and most importantly, your ROI (return of investment)

The solar hot water system at the Westin St. Maarten was started in January 2009. It has forty-five panels with 1,350 evacuated tubes to keep heating the water in that 4,000 gallon water storage tank.
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