Solar thermal doesn’t seem dead when I read about this
I keep seeing it mentioned here in blog posts, etc, that solar thermal is dead. Just use PV and electric water heat. Okay, makes enough sense. But then I came across Solaris when it was mentioned in one of the comments of a blog post.
After speaking with Bruce, their rep, it seems their product (SunPump) is relatively new, and just passed some testing standards in Canada (they’re based in BC). But, it seems like quite the silver bullet. Their product is pretty much all-in-one, and relatively simple. Refrigerant gets circulated through the solar panels, grabbing heat for DHW and hydronic heat (hydronic wall heaters available through them separately). I’ve seen mentioned a COP of 7 in sunlight. Works all winter long (to -15C, so might be no good in extreme climates), and has electric backup. And since it’s a heat pump, it’s reversible, meaning that the system can be used to COOL hydronically as well. Even at night (the panels basically act as a radiator at night, effectively turning it into an air source heat pump (I think I have the physics right on that)). Oh yeah, and they’re working on a version with PV mounted to the same panel, saving space but also increasing the PV efficiency, since those panels like cooler temps. This seems like a no-brainer for a (nearly) PH project I’m considering.
Has anybody come across these guys before? At a show, conference, etc.? This product gets me all warm and fuzzy, and I’m wondering why nobody’s talking about it?
(See http://www.cbj.ca/mobile/business_in_action/nov_13/solaris.html for a periodical that wrote an article about them)
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