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Solar Water Heaters

Our sun provides enough energy to meet the power demands of the entire world. The question is how do we harness all that energy? Solar technology is the answer.



Matrix Renewable Energy can help you tap into all that free energy. By installing our highly efficient “Evacuated Tube System” solar water heaters at your home or business you can achieve a significant degree of energy independence.

Solar Water Heaters

What is Solar Water Heating?

Solar water heating simply means using the sun’s energy to heat hot water for home, business, or industrial use.  Solar hot water is a reliable, affordable, effective form of clean, renewable energy that can be employed by nearly every homeowner in America.  The average person uses between 20 and 30 gallons of hot water a day.  A family of 4 would use between 2,400 and 3,600 gallons every month – all of which can be provided for free using the sun’s energy.  Using the sun’s energy results in lower energy costs, free hot water for a multiple of uses, and more energy independence.


Sunlight strikes and heats an absorber surface within a solar collector or an actual storage tank. Either a heat-transfer fluid or the actual potable water to be used flows through tubes attached to the absorber and picks up the heat from it (systems with a separate heat-transfer-fluid loop include a heat exchanger that then heats the potable water.) The heated water is stored in a separate preheat tank or a conventional water heater tank until needed. If additional heat is needed, it is provided by electricity or fossil-fuel energy by the conventional water heating system.


Benefits of Home Solar Water Heating

Typically 30%-40% of a family's energy consumption is just for heating water for uses such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, dishes, and showers.  A solar water heater may save the individual family from 70%-90% of the total amount spent on the electricity used for heating water. The system generally meets all of the summer time water heating needs. During times of decreased sunlight, the system will preheat the water then bring it up to temperature by the conventional water heating system already in place.  In addition to domestic uses, a solar system can provide hot water for radiant floor systems, baseboard and space heating systems, force hot air systems, and swimming pools/hot tubs, or other applications which require hot water.  Solar water heaters will reduce utility expenses and make enormous progress toward a cleaner world and toward preserving natural resources.


Solar Water Heater offers these benefits:


1.   Great federal and state incentives.  Federal incentive provides a 30% tax credit off the turn-key cost of a renewable energy system.  Each state has a unique incentive which will benefit the tax payer. 

2.   Significant reduction in the cost of hot water heating.

3.   Reduces the impact of rising electricity, gas and oil prices.

4.   Offers cost competitive and environmentally friendly, distributed green energy.

5.   Offers a practical and inexpensive way for home owners to support sustainable, pollution-free energy solutions.

6.   Contributes to a healthier environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

7.   Increased value of your home.  A study by the Appraisal Institute determined that people are willing to pay more for homes with solar hot water systems.

8.   Own your energy instead of renting it from the power company.

9.   When a solar water heater supplements an electric water heater the electricity displaced over 20 years represents more than 50 tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions alone.


What can a Solar Water Heater do?

Produce domestic hot water and use your existing water tank as a storage reservoir.


Provide hot water for radiant floor heating.

Because a radiant floor uses low to medium temperature water to heat a space directly, it is one of the simplest and cost effective systems to use in conjunction with a solar space heating system.


Description: https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSSrJntvLT-stVzrJTnhH9N9ghinjXhesvACFAK-7ng8QY1kWlGKwMost radiant floor systems use water ranging from 900F to 1200F as a heat source, circulating the water through the floors.  A solar heating system provides water temperature in excess of 1400F, making this a valuable heating resource.  A solar water heating system can be sized to provide a small supplement to a home heating system, lowering costs by 20% to 30%, or sized much larger, to cut as much as 80% of the home heating expense.  Each system can be scaled to specific goals, objectives, and budgets.

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A solar water heater can be used in conjunction with a forced hot air (FHA) system.  Typically most FHA do not use hot water to heat the home.  Instead the heated air is produced by electric elements, natural gas, propane, or some other fuel.  A water-to-air heat exchange coil is placed in the furnace duct work.  Solar heated water is circulated through the coil, and only the fan of the FHA system needs to operate. 


Provide hot water for space heating:  baseboard, in-wall, radiators.

Description: HouseNeeds Classic Hydronic RadiatorsUsing a solar water heating system in conjunction with low temperature baseboards is also an effective means to employ solar heated water and reduce energy costs.  Most low temperature baseboards require water between 1200F and 1400F, which a solar heating system can easily supply.  Usually in these types of applications the solar heating system is designed to supply home heat during the day, reducing energy costs by 50% or more.

Provide hot water for swimming pools and hot tubs.

The cost to operate swimming pools and hot tubs can greatly benefit by solar heating systems.  Solar pool and hot tub heating systems are cost competitive with traditional natural gas, propane, and heat pump pool/hot tub heater, without the high monthly fuel or electric bill. Solar heating systems for swimming pools and hot tubs are simple to install, have a low up front cost, and often pay for themselves in several seasons. The systems make use of existing pumps and filters with little disruption to existing systems.


One of the biggest benefits of a swimming pool solar heating system is extending the use of the pool longer throughout the course of the year.


How Evacuated Tubes Solar Collectors Work


How does a solar thermal work?

Solar energy in the form of heat is collected by solar collectors and is transferred though a heat exchanger to your potable (domestic) water system.  The solar collector works in all seasons, is freeze protected and is designed to reduce, not replace, your existing natural gas, electric, oil or propane hot water and home heating service.  The solar collector does not affect the quality of hot water produced or the speed at which cold water is heated, making it an ideal environmental solution.


The collectors turn the sun's energy into heat, which is transferred to the water in either your building's hot water tank, or a dedicated solar hot water tank, via piping loops from the collectors.  This loop is filled with bio-degradable antifreeze solution, which stays inside the collectors and piping at all times.  Whenever the sun shines on the collectors, the circulating pump comes on and the solar fluid circulates within the closed loop.  The fluid gets hot inside the collectors and travels through the piping to a heat exchanger inside the solar heated water which transfers the heat from the antifreeze water inside the storage tank, which stores the heated water for your use.  When the sun is not shining, the circulating pump simply turns off and the fluid stops circulating.


Works on cloudy days and even when it is freezing outside.

Because solar hot water collectors use the full spectrum of the sun, they efficiently absorb even the diffused solar radiation present on cloudy days.  They do not need direct sunlight to operate and are not nearly as impacted by shading issues like solar electric modules are.

A solar hot water system is not just a conscientious purchase for the environment; it has real and practical benefits for you the consumer/homeowner. Studies over the years have shown that homeowners and businesses who have installed solar hot water systems have been delighted with their investment. We are sure that you will be too!


Evacuated tube solar water heating systems are a proven technology and have been widely available in Europe and Asia over the last decade and are finally making their way into the US market.  Solar water heaters provide a highly efficient way to heat water for domestic and commercial use by capturing the energy of the sun.  The system consists of a panel of evacuated tubes constructed of extremely strong borosilicate glass which captures the UV rays from the sun to produce heat. What this means is that, regardless of how cold the temperature may be outside, our system will continue to heat water efficiently.

Each tube and fin of the collector is contained within a glass tube from which all the air has been evacuated.  The purpose of the evacuated tube is to provide a perfect insulator from heat losses to the outside temperatures and prevents any air from carrying heat from the hot surface of the tube to the cooler surface of the glass.  The temperature inside the tube can reach temperatures of 350 degrees while the outside of the tube is cool to the touch and they are barely affected by outside temperature and weather conditions.

To minimize radiant heat loss, the tube is covered with a selective surface.  The special coating absorbs more than 95% of the arriving radiation, but radiates less than 5% back to the environment.  Heat transfer from the absorber to the fluid circuit is performed by the heat pipe.  A heat pipe is a closed system, carefully evacuated and charged with a small amount of water before it is sealed. The absorber imparts heat to this water, causing it to evaporate.  The steam rises to the upper end of the heat pipe where it transfers heat to the fluid circuit via a

Evacuated tube collectors are specifically designed for year-round operation in all type of climate regions, included cold regions.  Evacuated tube collectors are lightweight and modular; allowing the systems to be integrated into nearly all-applications.  A solar evacuated tube absorbs solar radiation and converts it into heat (photo thermal conversion).  The tube employs a heat pipe evaporating-condensing cycle.  Solar radiation elevates the heat pipe’s liquid to its boiling region.  The heat pipe liquid evaporates (latent heat) and then it released latent heat by reverse transformation (condensation) at the heat sink section.  


A home solar water heating system is a very simple and maintenance free way to immediately reduce monthly energy costs.   In an evacuated tube solar system cold water flows into the bottom of the solar storage tank or existing hot water tank (1).  The solar loop heat transfer fluid (non-toxic glycol) is pumped up to the solar collector (2).   The evacuated tubes convert sun/UV energy to heat.  The heat is distributed within a manifold system and transferred into the glycol fluid (3).  The fluid is conveyed through the solar evacuated tube collector in a heat transfer process and pumped to the heat exchanger in the solar tank, heating the water inside the solar tank (4).  [If an existing traditional hot water tank is used to store the solar heated water an external heat exchanger is installed near the tank.] 



Important things you should know regarding solar water heater double-walled evacuated tubes:


  • Each of these solar water heaters collectors has an output of approximately 2,200 BTU per hour or about 600 watts. With a two year payback you will get 2,200 BTU per each hour of sun free for life.
  • Due to the cylindrical shape of the evacuated tube, the sun is perpendicular to the surface of the glass most of the day. This means that solar water heaters provide energy output all day long.
  • Because the tubes are formed by vacuum the wind and cold temperatures have minimal effect on the efficiency of the evacuated collector.  The evacuated tubes act like giant thermos, allowing 95% of the sun's radiation in, but only 3 to 5% out.
  • Evacuated Tubes:  The tubes contain a vacuum which have been manufactured with a double wall construction.  The glass on the interior tube is coated on its outer surface with an absorbent coating, and on the inner surface with a reflective coating.  The vacuum tubes have a copper heat pipe which is positioned in the center of the tube.  The heat pipe transfers the heat, which is generated by infrared radiation, to the header to heat the water being conveyed by the recirculation pump.  The evacuated tube system is a sealed system and requires very little maintenance other than cleaning the glass tubes annually.  Individual tubes may be simply replaced should it be necessary. 
  • Because tubes are round, they are always absorbing maximum sun's energy unlike flat panels that reflect the suns energy most of the day. Orientation is not critical with round tubes.
  • Round tubes create little or no wind resistance unlike flat panels or unglazed collectors.
  • A solar water heater is a very cost effective heating solution, both from an upfront cost perspective and on-going usage cost.

Commercial & Industrial Solar Hot Water Energy

Solar hot water heating systems are a phenomenal money saving addition to commercial and industrial buildings. Electricity costs for heating hot water in commercial buildings can be very costly. In the hotel business for instance, as much as 42% of energy consumption is from producing hot water. Percentages are similar with other high volume users of hot water including commercial laundries, car washes, restaurants, condominiums, apartment complexes, hospitals and medical facilities. Solar hot water is a reliable and environmentally friendly way of reducing hot water costs. Installing a solar water heating system can save between 40-80% of the cost of heating your buildings water. Solar hot water systems are extremely reliable, require little to no maintenance and can last 30 or more years.

Installing a solar water heating system will help protect the environment and show dedication to the environment and community.  Not only is solar water heating a great way of staving off increasing energy costs, commercial and industrial systems are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit off of the total system cost, plus the federal 5 year Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS) depreciation deductions, including a 50% first-year bonus depreciation.


Commercial & Industrial Solar Hot Water Energy

Solar Water Heaters for Swimming Pools


Financially and environmentally, few pool heating options make more sense than solar heating systems.  While solar heating for pools is a relatively new technology, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular heating options.  Because energy from the sun is clean and free, more and more pool owners are choosing solar heating for pools. Most climates in the US are ideally suited to swimming pool solar heating. In fact, the majority of North American pool owners would be well served by solar pool heating. 

Pool owners quickly learn that solar pool heating systems will pay for themselves through energy savings.  Without question, solar pool heating systems are the most cost-effective way to maintain comfortable swimming temperatures.  With the highest efficiencies of any solar technology -well in excess of 80% - according to the U.S. Department of Energy, "solar pool heating can pay for itself in as little as two years, and have an expected life span > 20 years. 

Roof mounted solar collectors

for swimming pool

Swimming Pool Solar Water Heating Benefits:

·         Maximizes Investment:  Increase the amount of time you can comfortably use your pool by installing a solar heating system.  Typically one month of the front end and one month on the back end.

·         More Economical:  When compared to heating your pool with other methods, solar heating pays for itself in a short time span.  After that you have free pool heating for the life of your pool!

·         Adds Value:  A solar water heating system adds value to your pool and home.

·         Environmentally Safe:  Solar pool heater produce “clean” positive energy, and do not pollute the environment as many conventional heating sources do.


How Solar Pool Heaters Work:

Description: http://www.homepower.com/sites/default/files/articles/ajax/docs/7_Specs_Schematic_Woodruff-skiz.jpgSolar pool heaters are integrated into the normal pool pump/filter system and work by intercepting the water flow after it comes out of the regular pool filter, and directing it through the solar collectors before it is returned to the swimming pool.


The temperature of the water is raised significantly as it passes through the collector array.  The system uses the standard pool pump and filter.  To control the temperature of the pool water a temperature sensor determines whether or not additional heat is needed.  When no heat is needed a diverting valve is activated and the solar collectors are avoided – in that case the water flows directly back to the pool after filtration.









          Testimonial (from unrelated installation in Canada):   Prior to the installation of a solar water heater system, and In the 10 years I have lived in my home with a swimming pool, the water temperature in the pool never got over 80F and when it did reach 80F it was after a heat wave of several days.   The yearly average pool temperature was 76F.   This was with a solar blanket as well.  Our neighbor's pool, (same size pool - 32x16 and no heather) was always 4 to 5 degrees F warmer. His pool had more direct sunshine hours per day than ours. I was only getting 5 to 6 hours of direct sunshine on the pool due the location of the pool and the tall trees.   I installed two (2) twenty tube solar water heaters in early May on my roof this year and the pool is now averaging 82F. This is an increase of 6F. I actually hit 87F for about a week in late June during a heat wave. We have swum in the pool in May for the first time and should also be enjoying it in September. I am proud to say that our pool is now 4 to 5F warmer than our neighbor's pool.



For more information on a solar heating system please contact Matrix Renewable Energy.

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Monetary savings from installing a solar water heater depend on a variety of factors, including climate, how much hot water is used at the location, conventional fuel costs, the water temperature required, and system performance. On average, however, the installation of a solar water heater will decrease water heating bills by 50% to 80%.

Solar hot water systems have a very quick payback in commercial applications and qualify for a 30% Federal Tax Credit or Grant. Solar thermal systems work in conjunction with an existing electric or gas hot water system and the ration of solar hot water supply to electric supply will vary depending on the type of system and accessibility of solar surface space.

Example of Renewable Energy Incentive for Solar Water Heating System


Example of Renewable Energy Incentive for Solar Water Heating System


Small commercial motel

Turn-key cost of solar water system:


Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) = 30%


The uncapped 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy systems remains in effect through 2016.  Businesses can receive the 30% federal investment tax credit in addition to the 40% State of Idaho tax deduction.

Turn-key cost less 30% tax credit = $17,500

Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS) + Bonus Depreciation


The federal Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 included a 50% first-year bonus depreciation provision for eligible renewable-energy systems placed into service after 2008. 


The federal Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 included a 50% first-year bonus depreciation provision for eligible renewable-energy systems placed into service after 2008. 


The Modified Acerbated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) 5-year depreciation schedule uses a 200% declining balance method with the following convention:


Year 1





Year 2





Year 3





Year 4





Year 5





Year 6




Calculate Accelerated Depreciation

Determine Depreciation Basis

The basis for depreciation is the installed cost of the renewable energy system LESS any and all cash incentives.

Depreciation Basis = [(Total Installed System Cost) - (Any and All Cash Incentives)]

$25,000 - $7,500 = $17,500

Taxpayers, who take advantage of the Federal Commercial Investment Tax Credit and accelerated depreciation, must reduce the depreciation basis by 50% of the federal tax credit.  The result is that the depreciation is equal to 95% of the total system cost less all cash incentives.

Depreciation Basis = [(Total Installed System Cost) - (Any and All Cash Incentives)] x 0.95

($25,000 - $7,500) x 0.95 = $16,625

Calculate First Year Bonus Depreciation

Bonus Depreciation Basis = Depreciation Basis x 50%

$16,625 x 0.50 = $8,313

Calculate Remaining First Year MACRS Depreciation.  Subtract the 50% bonus depreciation from the originally calculated depreciable basis and multiply the result by the first year MACRS rate of 20%.

First Year MACRS Depreciation Basis = Bonus Depreciation x MACRS Rate

($16,625 - $8,313) x 0.20 = $1,662




Calculate Total First Year Depreciation.  Add the bonus depreciation to the first year MACRS depreciation to arrive at the total depreciation deduction allowed in the first year. 


Total First Year Depreciation Deduction = Bonus Depreciation

+ First Year MACRS Depreciation

$8,313 + $1,662 = $9,975


Depreciation Deductions




Depreciable Basis

% Deduction

Depreciation Deduction












































Matrix Renewable Energy - Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water Heaters


Buy American Compliant, SRCC Certified solar evacuated tube collectors to provide efficient, affordable, high performance solar hot water and solar space heating solutions. These evacuated tube, solar thermal collectors are manufactured under strict quality control to ensure the best quality product is installed on your home or business.  Evacuated tube collectors perform very well in a variety of conditions. This is due to their design, which allows evacuated tubes to benefit from passive tracking. Evacuated tubes are excellent for commercial and residential applications alike.






SPP-30A - Buy American 30-Tube CollectorSPP-25



        Residential Installation                                   Commercial Installation

These collectors are used to produce domestic hot water, in space heating systems, and to power absorption chillers for solar air conditioning systems. Buy American Compliant, and SRCC certified, these collectors are perfect for residential, commercial, and industrial applications alike. 

  • Buy American Compliant: Complies with the Buy American Act (BAA) and American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which is a requirement on many commercial and government projects. 
  • SRCC Certified: Collector is OG-100 and OG-300 certified, allowing the SPP-30A to qualify for Federal, State, and local incentives, such as rebates and tax credits. 
  • Anodized Manifold / Header: Header construction made from aluminum, with an anodized coating for long lasting durability in all weather and environmental conditions. 
  • Stainless Steel Frame: Frame made from stainless steel material, with 24" centers for easier mounting and installation. 
  • Borosilicate Glass Tubes: Glass tubes made from high quality borosilicate glass, which is resistant to thermal shock, stress, and rated for 1" hail impact. 
  • High Performance: High heat performance in all weather conditions makes the solar water heater perfect for hot water, space heating, and air conditioning in all climates.



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Description: Solar Panels Plus