Technical improvements in solar systems

Modern solar systems are very different from those designed twenty or thirty years ago. The older systems absorb as much heat from light as modern systems. That will not change unless the laws of physics change because light energy at the surface of the earth has a finite amount of energy in a given area and solar systems absorb virtually all of it. New technology in solar systems has therefore had to concentrate upon other areas of the system’s performance.

The first significant development in solar systems was to introduce heat exchange. That made it possible to prevent the potable water flowing through the system, damaging the panels’ heat pipes. Then the heat circuit was pressurised and filled with edible glycol to stop freezing. That made drain back systems obsolete; the effect of pressurising and glycol filling the system enabled the system to provide heat energy in both very cold and very hot weather.

After introducing drain back, the absorbers were designed to stagnate. That meant that in very hot weather the systems had no need to “dump” the excess heat; the panels coped with it, without overheating.

The effect of all these improvements, introduced between fifteen and ten years ago, meant that the house owner never had to worry about the system or take any measures to drain it off in winter or when they went away for their summer holidays; the modern solar systems became virtually non maintenance and very safe and easy to use.

Interestingly all of these technical improvements were made in Europe, usually in Germany and Slovakia, which places still are at the cutting edge ofsolar thermal technology. In the United States and in Australia not all solar systems have these improvements, even those sold today. Even today in the USA and Australia many systems are designed with “heat dumps” which are unnecessary and add to the cost because of poor panel design.

The latest technical improvement does not make the solar system perform better, but reduces its operating carbon footprint to zero. Up until very recently solar systems needed to have their circulation pumps and controllers wired to the electrical mains. That meant to produce heat you had to use a very small amount of mains electricity, not significant in cost terms – perhaps in United Kingdom conditions the cost might be around £5 a year. For those wanting a totally operating emissions free solar system, or for those who lived in areas where mains electricity was unavailable or unreliable this was a disadvantage.

Now Genersys is pleased to announce its systems can now be installed with a totally zero operating carbon footprint. By adding a small photovoltaic panel of around 35wP (measuring 600x600mm) and a pump station and controller designed to operate on the DC electricity that the PV panel generates, you can now install a solar system (or upgrade your existing solar system) to totally carbon dioxide free operation.

You can ask your friendly Genersys installer about installing the Genersys PV Panel, Pump and controller as part of your solar system. If you are interested in the technical details you can download them from the Genersys website at http://genersys-solar.com/docs/pro/solar-pv-control-2009.pdf  

 

 

3 Responses

  1. […] Jp van der Spuy: Web Entrepeneur, Internet Marketer & Blogger put an intriguing blog post on Technical improvements in solar systemsHere’s a quick excerptPosted in carbon emissions, climate change, electricity, energy, global warming, heat, microgeneration, solar, solar energy, solar… […]

  2. The other issue that has improved the thermal solar system is installer knowledge, years ago many solar installations were installed by people who had no idea what they were doing, bad installation practices can reduce the performance of any solar systems, but installer knowledge has come a long way since then, also the introduction of solar pump stations, better insulation and better pipe jointing methods, all add to a better performing solar system, I have seen many systems installed with standard insulation, soft soldered joints, no flow setters, no check valves etc, all poor installation practices,
    The PV pumpstation you mention Robert is an excellent way for the householder to run their hot water system totally independantly from fossil fuels, it will I believe become a very popular choice.

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