Solar Thermal Energy
Solar Thermal harnesses available radiation from the sun and transforms into heat or energy. The use of thermal energy can be applied to water used in a variety of applications residentially from heating domestic water for the home, water for a pool and water for heating radiant floors. Commercially solar heated water can assist in drastically reducing the amount of gas needed to heat water.
There are 2 types of solar water heating systems:
Active Solar Heating:
Active solar heating systems use pumps to circulate water through collectors. This is commonly referred to as Direct Circulation.
Pumps that are used to circulate non-freezing fluid (Glycol based fluid) through collectors to heat water are referred to as Indirect Circulation.
Passive Solar Heating:
Passive solar systems, while not as efficient as Active systems, are usually less expensive and can last much longer. In Passive systems, the water can be circulated slowly and gather in one, central tank and integrated into the collector itself. Thermosyphon systems are also considered passive.
In a Thermosyphon environment, warm water rises as cool water sinks. The collector is installed below the storage tank so that as the water gains temperature it rises and then falls into the tank.