Solar Thermal 101

Chicago, IL

Solar Thermal technology utilizes the heat of the sun to reduce the need for natural gas or electricity. A highly evolved technology, it is simple, fully automatic, reliable and efficient, converting sunlight into usable, free energy for decades at a time.

As shown below, there are two basic systems – solar hot water and solar heat & hot water. Solar Service will work with you to design a system that meets your unique needs.

Solar Hot Water:

  1. A food grade anti-freeze is pumped through the panels, heated by the sun and returned to the mechanical room.
  2. This thermal (heat) energy is used to heat water by using a device called a heat exchanger.
  3. The potable hot water is then stored in a separate storage tank and fed to a conventional hot water before flowing to your tap.  The hot water heater supplies back up heat if needed, ensuring you will always have hot water.
  4. The result? Significant energy and financial savings!
Solar Hot Water Diagram

Have more questions about solar hot water? Visit our FAQs to learn more.

Solar Heat & Hot Water:

Solar can also be used for space heating by adding more panels and another heat exchanger.  Almost any furnace or radiant floor heating system can be converted into a hybrid heat source for your home.

  1. A separate thermostat controls your solar heating system, ensuring the sun is the first source of heat for your home.
  2. When the house calls for heat, a pump circulates solar heated water through a radiant coil installed in the furnace ductwork.
  3. The furnace fan draws cold air from the home across the hot solar coil, delivering heat to the home.
  4. This system also provides domestic hot water as described above.

NOTE: Solar thermal systems are NOT a good fit for baseboard or radiator systems as these devices require extremely hot water to operate.

Solar Heat Hot Water Diagram

Have more questions about solar heat hot water? Visit our FAQs to learn more.