Home » Blog » Solar Water Heating » SunReports and SunWater Solar Offer ‘Smart’ Solar Thermal Systems

Web-based performance metrics illustrate quantifiable return on solar thermal investments

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – May 4, 2010 – SunReports, Inc., a provider of performance monitoring solutions for residential and commercial solar installations, in collaboration with SunWater Solar, one of the few companies in California that specializes in solar thermal technology, today announced the successful deployment of smart solar thermal systems innorthern California. SunReports’ Apollo1 provides a Web-based means of analyzing solar system performance, while SunWater Solar brings the expertise necessary to design and install a quality solar thermal system.

The Apollo1 monitors both solar thermal and solar PV systems, requires no configuration in the field and generates system performance data accessible through Internet portals. SunWater Solar assisted in the fine-tuning of the Installer Portal and was one of the first companies to field test the Apollo1, installing the devices on three Schuco commercial solar thermal systems in northern California. Solar thermal systems use the sun’s energy, rather than fossil fuels, to heat water and other fluids, significantly reducing site-generated greenhouse gas emissions and enabling long term Return on Investment (ROI) through decreased utility bills.

“SunReports’ Apollo1 is an easy-to-use, affordable system that makes a solar system ‘smart’ by enabling it to communicate important performance parameters,” said Thomas Dinkel, CEO, SunReports. “System installers can view system performance for all of their systems using our Installer Portal map-based interface, and a system owner can see the performance of their own system in easy-to-understand graphics, complete with energy savings equivalents.”

SunReports’ performance-based monitoring is the first system capable of highlighting a solar thermal system’s actual production compared to its estimated performance, providing assurance that the system is operational and working to its designed capacity. By accessing SunReports’ Internet portals via any web-enabled device, even mobile devices such as the iPhone, system installers and owners can check system performance from anywhere in the world. The SunReports solar performance monitoring solution also issues alerts should the system experience any performance issues.

“At SunWater Solar we take great pride in designing and building quality solar thermal systems that generate long-term financial benefits,” said Justin Weil, President, SunWater Solar. “Now, thanks to SunReports, we can access metrics that assist us in further enhancing system performance, so clients get a high-quality solar thermal system along with quantifiable assurance that it is generating maximum output and maximum savings.”

Unlike other measurement systems on the market, the SunReports system takes direct measurement of the solar benefit, rather than estimating the effect of the arrays. Three temperature sensors allow the Apollo1 to accurately calculate the amount of energy a solar thermal array is creating. Two sensors take direct measurements of the temperature of fluid moving between the array and the heat exchanger, while a third sensor measures the temperature of the fluid in the solar storage tank. A current transducer tells when the solar circulating pump is on. The Apollo1 integrates all of this data and then transmits it through an Internet connection.

Businesses considering the installation of a solar thermal system may be eligible for sizable rebates, and rebate program rules may require the installation of performance metering and monitoring equipment on the system. The California Solar Initiative (CSI) Thermal Program, for example, stipulates that monitoring equipment must be installed on systems displacing more than 30kWth (Kilowatt Thermal), equivalent to about 462 square feet of collector area. The CSI Thermal Program, which authorizes $350 million in rebates, is one of the nation’s most ambitious solar thermal rebate programs.

Category: Solar Water Heating
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Posted On : Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Making hot water from the sun...

SunWater Solar is a design/build company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in solar water heating systems. The company provides these systems for many types of commercial projects. More»


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