Last week, I spent a day repairing a solar thermal system that has been operating for more then 30 years in NYC. I just wanted to share a few pictures and points because it’s super cool.

  • The system was installed in installed in 1980, expected “payback” (don’t ever use that term again) was just around 3 years
  • The client paid $3,200 for the system, which is about $8,900 in todays dollars.
  • The system was providing 70-80% of the hot water for 2 families
  • It was offsetting natural gas, which was expensive for a long time, and current prices are going back up, to the tune of 70%.  
  • DAS Solar Systems was the name of the EPC contractor in NYC. They’re aren’t around anymore.
  • The name of the module manufacture was SunWorks, the spec sheet said New Haven, CT but I’m assuming they were imported from Israel.
The system is in the heart of NYC

You can even see the module from google earth! There were 6 existing modules, but we replaced them with 4.

Front of the house. Getting equipment on roofs in NYC can be an issue.

The old modules. They held up pretty well, and managed to work 12 years after their “warranty” expired.

Again, the help up remarkably well well. There was a small amount of rust on the back sheets.

The rack was pretty simple and standard using unistrut. In fact, I’ve built a system that was 6 modules in Medford and were used the exact same parts as this! Though the roof flashing was a little different.

The roof penetrations. I’m not sure exactly how it’s structured. But the owner said the roof had been re-roofed 3 times since the system was installed and they never had any issues with the solar thermal system getting in the way.

The insulation held up amazingly well too!

Pump station. A lot of fittings and work went into building this guy. I’d say a lot of the advancements we’ve made since then has been simplifying the pump station (or eliminating it)






The ol’ Solar Industries used to make good pump stations….


HHere is the spec sheet for the modules. Sorry I couldn’t get a better picture. Does any have any experience with SunWorks?

4 new modules ready to operate for the next 30 years!