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Matrix Renewable Energy installed two - twenty (20) evaluated tube solar water collectors on a south-facing metal roof to enhance the utility independence of a residential property in Eagle, Idaho. The homeowner is highly motivated to lessen their need for commercial power and take advantage of free solar energy provided by the sun. 

The existing home is LEED constructed and includes a three zone hot water radiant floor heating system.   The installation of two solar water collectors will provide supplemental hot water for domestic purposes, for the radiant floor heating zones, and a source of hot water for a hot tub.    






A custom pump/control panel was fabricated to integrate the operation and function of the new and existing systems.  The pump/control system consists of a duplex (two) pump station with an integral brazed plate heat exchanger. 

The solar collector loop is charged with non-toxic glycol.  The solar collector heated glycol is pumped through the heat exchanger and transfers the heat to the domestic side of the heat exchanger. 

From the heat exchanger the solar heated water is pumped and stored in an existing 80 gallon water tank.  This reservoir of hot water is available for general domestic/household purposes as well as for radiant floor and hot tub water heating. 

The existing electric heating elements in the water tank will be non-energized during high UV/solar periods.  It is anticipated that the two 20-tube solar heaters will satisfy 75% of the home’s hot water demand.   




This home also has an existing 39 panel photovoltaic (solar) panel system which was installed on the south facing roof soon after the construction of the home (approx. 6 years ago).  This installation benefits by having an Idaho Power Company Net Metering Agreement.  If the solar system produces more energy than is demanded by the home the surplus power goes into the commercial electrical grid with financial credit provided to the Owner. 

The original photovoltaic panel system included four (4) 2.1 kW Sunny Boy inverters which were functioning in a substandard manner.  Solar power production data was not available by referencing the existing bank of inverters.  The core losses and efficiency of the inverters were of concern as there was evidence of conductor overheating and system under performance.  Matrix Renewable Energy replaced the four aged inverters with a single Aurora Power One

inverter (2 channels).  The panels were configured to provide balanced strings and all existing system assemblies were made to be NEC compliant.   Real time solar power production data is available from the display on the inverter as well as a remote RS 232 module.  With the improvements implemented the photovoltaic system is producing power at optimum efficiency and will provide trouble free operation for many years.  

The project goals have been accomplished as the renewable energy improvements will lessen the owner’s reliance on commercial power and result in a beneficial cost savings while enhancing green energy position.


This residential renewable energy system (solar hot water and photovoltaic-solar panels) qualifies for a federal 30% renewable energy tax credit (dollar for dollar) and the State of Idaho 40% renewable energy tax deduction.  These are significant financial incentives which will accelerate the payback period of the renewable energy systems.


 Former array of sub-standard

solar inverters  

 New single inverter for

upgraded system