While SHW packages and integrated component assemblies can greatly simplify system installation, it is still up to the installer—or the do-it-yourselfer—to choose the correct equipment to suit a specific customer and site. The first thing a buyer should insist on is that components are certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (see Access). Shop around and understand the relative merits of each system—one pump or two; bronze, stainless, or cast-iron pumps; larger or smaller heat exchanger; Underwriters Laboratories certified controls; particulate filtration—enough differences exist between systems to require a consumer to tread carefully.
The expense of on-site assembly and the need to guarantee long-term system performance may make pre-assembled solar hot water systems the wave of the future. With a number of pre-assembled system manufacturers in the market, there has never been a better time to install a solar hot water system on your home.
Dan Gretsch is a registered professional engineer with 15 years of experience working on energy efficiency projects. He has managed industrial energy efficiency projects in the United States, Europe, and Central and South America. He is vice president of engineering for SolarH2Ot (www.solarhotusa.com) in Cary, North Carolina.
Solar Rating & Certification Corporation • www.solar-rating.org
System Packages, Pump Stations & Integrated Heat Exchanger Units:
AAA Solar • www.aaasolar.com
Alternate Energy Technologies • www.aetsolar.com
Alternative Energy Store • www.altenergystore.com
Apricus • www.apricus.com
Butler Sun Solutions • www.butlersunsolutions.com
Caleffi • www.caleffi.us
Heliodyne • www.heliodyne.com
Oventrop • www.oventrop-na.com
Purist Energy • www.puristenergy.com
SolarDirect • www.solardirect.com
Solar Energy-4U • www.solarenergy-4u.com
Solargenix Energy • www.solargenix.com
SolarH2Ot • www.solarhotusa.com
Solarnetix • www.solarnetix.com
Stiebel Eltron • www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com
Viessmann • www.viessmann-us.com