The Best Off-The-Grid Water Heater Yet, and They're Ready To Roll!
Categories: Wind Power
Mike Newman has been in the solar thermal business since 1973, and he's seen all kinds of "great ideas" come and go. One area of concern for a long time has been the passive solar water heater in cold weather areas. You see panels on the roof in places where it gets so cold outside that the sun and the freeze work against each other, and sometimes the freezing weather wins. According to Mike, Pipes break, solar collectors are cracked, and there are often problems with keeping functionality through the years.
All of those years of experience, and continued success in the industry with his company Energy Labs have lead to a product is designed to function with photovoltaic panels in direct control of a custom smart element.
By leaving one electric element, and one solar powered element, the water is able to be steadily heated through the night and the day with maximum efficiency, taking advantage of sunlight, but maintaining water heat even in cloud cover. The fact that Solar PV panels are not affected by the cold, and in fact run even better in cold weather sunlight means that there's no deficiency that occurs in the winter freeze, and the water will keep on heating. It also functions just fine for off-grid installations, but water will be heated day to day. The super insulated tank will keep the water warm for a long time.
This is the first time a PV water heater has been designed specifically for cold weather off-the-grid applications that will last for many years to come.
So if you've been struggling for a great solution for your build or design, or are tired of your current situation, take advantage of continued tax incentives and savings available on your other solar equipment, and apply them to your water heater as well.
The product is called a Thermalux water heater, and it is being released in a Kickstarter campaign. It hasn't had a whole lot of publicity, but it's value to those building off the grid can't be overstated, and when I saw this, I realized the word needs to get out there!
These types of products that replace conventional energy use will continue to help our world to use less and less coal / gas energy in our day to day lives, and more and more naturally present energy.
The kickstarter offers just the water heater for those who want to buy their own PV panels for the system, or a complete all-inclusive system with the Solar panels included. The 50 gallon heater by itself is available for $1299, or complete with PV setup for $3799. They make a 65 gallon tank as well. With a 30% tax rebate on federal taxes, and some states giving up to 20% more, that offsets much of the cost. Then when you consider that your water heater is typically about 1/3 of your home's electric bill, it doesn't take long for it to pay for itself.
by David Webster 4/22/15