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Basics & Theory

GBA: Podcast On Solar Thermal Types, Cost, Investment
Green Building Advisor podcast with solar-heat veteran Pat Coon of ReVision Heat discusses the logistics, benefits, and challenges of solar thermal design for the home.

NRCan: Introduction to Solar Water Heating Systems
Natural Resources Canada online guide describes solar water heating systems concept, benefits, types of systems, and sources of more information. (PDF)

REW: Overview Of Concentrating Solar Energy Technologies
Renewable Energy World describes the different types of photovoltaic and solar thermal concentrating solar energy technologies.

Solar Guide: Overview On How Solar Thermal Works
Solar Guide site explains types of solar thermal systems, how they work, system parts, and common applications.

US DOE: Active Solar Heating
US Department of Energy describes types of active solar heating systems that use solar energy to heat a fluid -- either liquid or air -- and then transfer the solar heat directly to the interior space or to a storage system for later use.

WBDG: Overview Of Solar Water Heating
Whole Building Design Guide describes solar water heating concept, collector types, components, system types, design, analysis, US codes and standards, and links to more resources.
Education & Training

NABCEP: Certification For Solar Thermal Installer
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners solar thermal installer certification is a voluntary certification that provides a set of national standards by which solar thermal installers with skills and experience can distinguish themselves from their competition.
Industry Information

CANSIA: Solar Heat: Clean Energy Solutions For Canada
Canadian Solar Industries Association report Solar Heat, Sustainable Future: Clean Energy Solutions for Canada presents an overview of the Canadian solar thermal market activity from 2000 to 2011. (PDF)

GBA: Solar Thermal Is Dead As PV Costs Less
Green Building Advisor says it’s now cheaper to use a photovoltaic system rather than a solar thermal system to heat domestic hot water.

GBA: Solar Thermal is Not Dead
Green Building Advisor says solar thermal systems produce hot water in an environmentally responsible way.

GBA: Solar Thermal Is Really, Really Dead
Green Building Advisor says a new analysis shows how much cheaper it is to heat water with PV modules than with solar thermal collectors.

REW: Making Solar Hot Water Count For Greentags
Renewable Energy World article says solar hot water could help states with the increasingly difficult task of meeting renewable portfolio standards.
Information Sources

US DOE: Resource Site On Solar Water Heating
US Department Of Energy provides resources on solar water heating systems.
Issues & Performance

BC Gov: 2013 Updated BC Solar Hot Water Ready Regulation
BC Government new Update to Solar Hot Water Ready Regulation, effective June 21, 2013 includes adding 12 local governments to the regulation, and amending Section 4 to provide loading requirements for stick frame roofs and to clarify the requirement to address point loads for truss roofs. (PDF)

BC Gov: BC Code Regulations For Backflow Prevention For Solar DHW
BC Building and Safety Policy Branch bulletin of July 28, 2009 provides clarification of 2006 BC building code regulations pertaining to backflow prevention for solar domestic hot water systems. (PDF)

BC Gov: Solar Hot Water Ready Regulation For New Homes
BC Housing and Construction Standards has instituted an optional requirement that would enable local governments to mandate that all new single family dwellings within their communities be solar hot water ready. The proposed requirement for single family homes would apply in the following areas: required roof space for solar collector; mandatory roof loading requirement; conduit specifications.

CSA: CAN/CSA-F378 SERIES-11 (R2016) Standard For Thermal Solar Collectors
CSA Standard CAN/CSA-F378 SERIES-11 (R2016) specifies a set of technical requirements and test methods for solar collectors and covers component materials, materials performance, operating performance, and marking requirements. It applies to the following types of solar collectors: glazed and unglazed flat plate collectors; vacuum envelope collectors; concentrating collectors; and boiling/condensing collectors. $220 CDN

ICC: 2015 International Solar Energy Provisions & Commentary
International Code Council sells 2015 International Solar Energy Provisions and Commentary. It contains the complete solar-energy-related provisions and referenced solar standards from the 2015 International Codes plus the NFPA 70: 2014 NEC National Electrical Code provisions related to solar energy in one document. It is a comprehensive tool for the design, installation and administration of both solar thermal (or solar heating and cooling) and photovoltaic systems. $65 USD

NREL: Realistic Hot Water Draw Specification For Rating Solar Water Heaters
US National Renewable Energy Laboratory report A Realistic Hot Water Draw Specification for Rating Solar Water Heaters, proposes a more-realistic ratings draw that eliminates most bias by improving mains inlet temperature and by specifying realistic hot water use. This paper outlines the current and the proposed draws and estimates typical ratings changes from draw specification changes for typical systems in four US cities. Average change in the ratings from the proposed draw is approximately 8%. (PDF)

PHC Pros: Solar Collector Overheat Prevention
Plumbing & Hydronic Contractor News describes the top four fail-proof strategies to maintain solar heating systems and prevent overheating.

PHCP Pros: Metal, Plastic And Solar Water Heater Temperature Limits
Plumbing & Hydronic Contractor says systems that include alternative-energy heat sources are likely to experience overheating episodes that might cause damage to PEX tubing and other common plastic plumbing components.

Building America: Architectural Drawings For Solar Thermal Systems
Building America describes how to provide an architectural drawing and riser diagram for the homeowner showing the planned location for future solar hot water system components.

Building America: Solar Plumbing & Wiring Chase
Building America describes how to install a plumbing and wiring chase from the utility room to the roof space designated for the future solar hot water array.

Building Science: Tankless & Solar Hot Water Heating Integration
Building Science research project proposed how to design and install a solar hot water system that features a tankless water heater integrated with a solar hot water panel such that consistent temperature control can be achieved at the domestic taps. (PDF)

CMHC: Solar Water Heating Systems
CMHC describes features, benefits and considerations for various types of solar water heating systems.

F-Chart: Purchasable Software For Solar System Design
F-Chart software for solar system design can be used for several collector types including flat plates, evacuated, CPC, and 1 and 2-axis tracking. $400 USD

Fine Homebuilding: How To Install Solar Hot Water
Fine Homebuilding online video shows how to install temperature-activated collector panels, and a solar heat exchanger and conventional water heater that work in tandem.

GBA: Another Solar Thermal Myth Bites The Dust
Green Building Advisor describes how plastic tubing be cost effectively used for solar collectors connected to a domestic hot water system.

GBA: Podcast On Solar Thermal Types, Cost, Investment
Green Building Advisor podcast with solar-heat veteran Pat Coon of ReVision Heat discusses the logistics, benefits, and challenges of solar thermal design for the home.

GBA: Solar Hot Water System Maintenance Costs
Green Building Advisor says when you have to shell out a few hundred dollars every time your solar thermal system needs repairs, the maintenance costs will eat into your energy savings.

HPAC Magazine: Combine Solar Collectors & Wood Gasification Boiler
HPAC magazine describes how to combine solar collectors and a wood gasification boiler.

JLC: Installing Vacuum Tube Solar Collectors
Journal of Light Construction article describes how to install a vacuum tube solar collector. (PDF) Free Registration Required

PHCP Pros: Solar DHW In-Tank Heat Exchangers
PHCP Pros says even coated with minerals from hard water, this in-tank heat exchanger equipment continues to provide hot water with low maintenance.

PHCP Pros: Solar Heat Collectors Area Versus Aperture
Plumbing & Hydronic Contractor magazine discusses the solar collector area versus aperture considerations for system design.

PM Engineer: Different Ways To Pipe A Thermal Storage Tank
PM Engineer describes how to pipe a thermal storage tank used for most hydronic-based renewable energy heat sources.

PM Engineer: Outdoor Reset Controls In Renewable Heating Systems
PM Engineer magazine describes how outdoor reset controls allow a renewable energy heat source to operate at the lowest possible water temperature that can satisfy the heating load of the building based on current outdoor conditions.

REW: Comparing Flat Plate & Vacuum Tube Solar Thermal Systems
Renewable Energy World article explores the evolution of performance and results of a comparative study of both flat plate and vacuum tube systems to help you select the best system for an application.

US DOE: Anti-Freeze Solar Hot Water
Building America Solution Center Anti-Freeze describes basic steps for designing and installing an indirect (anti-freeze) solar hot water system.

US DOE: Best Practices For Solar Thermal & Photovoltaic Systems
US Department of Energy best practices for Solar Thermal & Photovoltaic Systems includes sections on Solar Sells by Closing the Deal, Solar-Thermal Water Heating, Photovoltaic Power Generation, Planning and Orientation, Rack-Mounted Systems, Worker Safety, Solar Ready, Looking Back & Ahead, and Case Studies. (PDF)

US DOE: Drain Back Solar Hot Water
Building America Solution Center describes basic steps for designing a drainback solar hot water system.

US DOE: Heat Transfer Fluids For Solar Water Heating Systems
US Department of Energy describes options of fluids for solar water heating systems.

US DOE: Overview Of Solar Hot Water Heating Systems
US Department Of Energy fact sheet describes solar water heating basics, components, system types, sizing, benefits, and sources of more information. 1996 (PDF)

US DOE: Roof Anchor System For Solar Panels
Building America Solution Center describes how to install a mounting system for solar thermal or solar photovoltaic panels.

US DOE: Siting Your Solar Water Heating System
US Department of Energy describes how to correctly orient and tilt a solar water heater.

US DOE: Solar Hot Water Heater Thermosiphon
Building America online Solution Center describes features, benefits, and design considerations for solar hot water heater thermosiphon.

US DOE: Solar Water Heating System Maintenance & Repair
US Department of Energy describes how to maintain your solar water heater, and prevent scaling, corrosion, and freezing.

US DOE: Using Solar Hot Water to Address Piping Heat Losses In Multifamily
US Department of Energy report Using Solar Hot Water to Address Piping Heat Losses in Multifamily Buildings describes effectiveness of using automatic valves to divert water (which is normally returned through the recirculation piping to the gas or electric water heater) to the solar storage tank when the returning water is cooler than the water in the solar storage tank. (PDF)
Product Supply

CanmetENERGY: Buyers Guide For Solar Water Heating Systems
CanmetENERGYguide describes benefits of solar water heating, how it works, components, appearance, types, planning, selecting a dealer, doing your own installation, other solar systems, and determining energy savings. (PDF)

REW: Canada Releases $9 M For Solar Hot Water Pilot Projects
Renewable Energy World reports on Natural Resources Canada announcement on funding to accelerate solar hot water across the country.

US DOE: Solar Water Heating In Single-Family, Zero Energy Ready Homes
US Department of Energy report Indirect Solar Water Heating in Single-Family, Zero Energy Ready Homes explores factors and situations in which indirect SDHW may be a practical method of achieving zero energy consumption. These situations include: No natural gas onsite; High SDHW incentives; High energy prices and high domestic hot water consumption; Heat pump water heaters are not practical; Reliable contractors; Reliable, low-cost maintenance. Even when these conditions favor SDHW, it believes substantial reductions in indirect SDHW system cost are needed for the systems to be practical in most US zero energy homes. (PDF)
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