Solar FAQs

Q?What is the cost of a solar thermal system?

SolarUS can save you approximately 70% of your hot water costs — which is equivalent to planting 240 trees each year while avoiding carbon pollution. With a system design life of over 30 years, each unit will save over 72,000 trees!

The savings over time increases due to increasing electricity rates however, the average solar water system pays for itself in as little as three years. For more information, visit the Consumer Energy Center.

Q?How do solar panels work?

Panels work in different ways depending on what they are used for. if you have a solar water heating system, this usually contains a “collector” to absorb solar radiation and turn it into heat. Then, a heat conducting liquid carries the heat from the collector to the hot water tank.

An electricity producing system, a positively charged layer of silicon is placed against a negatively charged layer of silicon, forming a field for electrical charges to pass through. Sunlight creates the electric charge when it shines on the panel. Then a conductive metal concentrates the charge into an electric current which can power household appliances.

Q?Why are SolarUS panels different?

The sun shines on the collector which heats the water inside of the collector, the heated water is stored in a tank inside of your home, ready for use. SolarUS’s evacuated tube collector (available in black and silver) is typically mounted on the roof.

Two pipes, a flow and a return connect the collector to the pump station – which is also connected to the water tank. The station contains the pump, flow control, flow meter safety valve, air purge and the solar controller. The controller monitors the system and turns the pump on if the collector is hotter than the hot water tank, so that more heat is absorbed into the tank.

The SolarUS Difference:

Guaranteed for fifteen years (the longest warranty on the market) SolarUS tubes are made from high quality borosilicate glass and are fused together. This provides an all glass seal. Some manufacturers use a metal plug to provide the seal which can result in the decreased life of the tube, due to a difference in expansion and contraction rates. The SolarUS tube uses a unique three layer selective coating instead of the standard single al-n/al coating. It consists of an infrared emission layer, an absorption layer and an anti-reflective layer, giving a much improved performance.

Lastly, the silver end of the tube is a “getter” which acts as a sponge to suck up any gasses remaining after evacuation. Should the vacuum be lost, the silver will disperse along the tube “smoking up” the tube and alerting you to replace it.

Q?Are there any tax incentives available?

Currently, there is a 30% Federal Tax credit available and in many states, there are additional tax incentives as well as a special accelerated bonus depreciation for commercial projects.

Q?How does it work?

The sun shines on the collector, which heats the water inside the collector. The heated water is stored in a tank inside your home, ready for use.

Our core product is our solar thermal collectors. We have both flat plate and evacuated tubes. These can be mounted on the roof, wall or ground and face the sun. Once the sunlight is converted (inside the collector) to heat, it is transferred to a liquid which is then circulated through pipes by a very small motor and then transferred into a storage tank and stored to be used as needed. A computer control monitors the system temperatures and controls the systems operation. You can even monitor your system (to see how much energy and money you are saving)  from your smart phone!

Q?Can they be used in cold climates?

SolarUS evacuated tube collectors are designed for all year, high performance in the very areas that experience cold weather conditions. The vacuum forms a thermos effect so that the tubes are virtually unaffected by outside temperatures. In addition, the collectors work off of sunlight and not heat from the sun so, even in the extreme cold conditions of Canada for example (where temperatures drop to -40 F the collectors will still produce 160 degrees Fahrenheit of water temperature.