Posted by:

What You Need to Know


Two Vitosol 200-F SH2 collectors mounted in "landscape" mode in an awning configuration. 190-degree azimuth, 45-degree tilt, no shading. 80-gallon Kingspan Tribune dual-coil storage tank -- bottom coil is piped to the SHW collectors, top coil is piped to a propane-fired condensing boiler. To optimize solar heating, the boiler is set via a timer to only supplement the hot water tank (via the top coil) as needed for an hour or two each afternoon/evening to ensure sufficient hot water for washing dishes, showers, etc. that night and the following morning.

Maintenance Requirements:

No maintenance so far (in first year)

Efficiency or Sustainability Improvements:

4.5 kW PV system (details provided separately)


I've found that there is definitely more thinking/planning/strategy involved with SHW than there is with (grid-connected, net-metered) PV. While PV generates electricity whenever there is sufficient sunlight, SHW will only generate usable heat when the collectors are warmer than the tank. As such, the optimal situation is to start each new day with a cold tank, which in turn requires some basic planning/management (e.g., controlling via timer when the boiler provides supplemental water heating, thinking about when to wash the dishes and shower, etc.). Of course, one can still use SHW without obsessing about these things, but I find the challenge of trying to maximize the solar-heated (vs. propane-heated) portion of our hot water usage to be satisfying.

Open House Info:

October 13, 2012 from 10AM to 3PM. E-mail me ( for directions.

View Other Case Studies
Bill LaBine - Avon - NY: High Efficiency Hot Water
Bill LaBine - Avon - NY: High Efficiency Hot Water

Single-Family Residence|High Efficiency Hot Water


Single-Family Residence|High Efficiency Hot Water

annual savings
Search for Other Case Studies
EnergySage Marketplace
Get the best deal on solar.
Get Started