Simplifying Solar Thermal: Page 3 of 3

Solar Water Heating Tank
Solar Water Heating Tank
A pump station manufactured by Oventrop.
A pump station manufactured by Oventrop.
The Solarnetix pump station
The Solarnetix pump station. The front insulation is removed to show the components.
EnerWorks integrated system
EnerWorks manufactures integrated pump, control, heat exchanger, and storage tank systems.
Heat exchanger, pump, and control package from Oventrop
Heat exchanger, pump, and control package from Oventrop.
Solar Water Heating Tank
A pump station manufactured by Oventrop.
The Solarnetix pump station
EnerWorks integrated system
Heat exchanger, pump, and control package from Oventrop

Comparative Shopping

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 ( in Cary, North Carolina.

Solar Rating & Certification Corporation •

System Packages, Pump Stations & Integrated Heat Exchanger Units:

AAA Solar •

Alternate Energy Technologies • 

Alternative Energy Store •

Apricus •

Butler Sun Solutions •

Caleffi •

Heliodyne •

Oventrop •

Purist Energy •

SolarDirect •

Solar Energy-4U •

Solargenix Energy •

SolarH2Ot • 

Solarnetix •

Stiebel Eltron •

Viessmann •

Comments (2)

Tom M's picture

to reduce cost and maintenence, use off the shelf plumbing components. Prefabricated systems are often hard to work on and present problems when replacement parts are needed. Keep it simple. Often these boxed components put servicable parts in the wrong place in a system. Drains and fillers should be located at the bottom of the loop, temperature and pressure gages are not located where they should be and pump connections are specialized not to mention the poor quality of piping and valves usually associated with the design.

Scott Russell's picture

Thanks to Home Power reader Eric T. for pointing out some outdated pricing info in this article. It has now been updated to reflect current market values. That kind of input is both welcome and encouraged anywhere on the site.

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