Solar thermal, solar hot water, solar hot air, solar heating, solar cooling

Free Course: How to Make Money in Renewable Energy

Here is one thing we know how to do really well at HeatSpring, help contractors get into and excel in the solar and geothermal business.

We do this through a variety of means; advice, contacts, training, and resources.

We talk to contractors from around the country every day and we’ve been doing it for 4 years. As […]

May 16th, 2011|Categories: Building Science|Tags: , , |

Which is Better: Solar Thermal Flat Plate or Evacuated Tube Collectors?

Solar thermal flat plate or evacuated tube collectors? This is an incredibly common question in the solar thermal industry. Strangely enough, many people weigh in, and take different sides. Like a Red Sox vs Yankees type of rivalry, it’s a heated debate. In the end, it depends on the job you’re working on — the climate, the roof, your budget, and […]

Software Can Decrease Your Costs, Close More Sales and Grow your Solar Business

I’m always on the hunt for the new products, trends and technologies that are decreasing the cost of clean energy solutions. In the past few years the innovation has mainly come from decreasing the cost of the large system components (modules, heatpumps, etc) and building up a trained labor force. When I started installing solar it took a four man crew four to five days to install the average 5kw system for a home. As my residential career was wrapping up, that same four man crew could do it in a little less then two days. 50% lower labor costs. We all know the same story has been true with module prices. But now that we have more trained workforce and the hard costs are decreasing rapidly, where can we looking to further decrease costs?


5 Helpful Tips to Sizing and Selecting Solar Thermal Equipment

Today’s guest post comes from Bob Ramlow, the instructor if our Solar Thermal Boot Camp. Bob Ramlow has more than 30 years of experience with solar-energy systems and is a co-founder and Board member of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. He’s a solar thermal consultant for the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program. We adapted this article from his book, Solar Water Heating, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living. Bob teaches HeatSpring’s Solar Thermal Installer Boot Camp.

Click here to sign up for a free product training on real time solar thermal monitoring that is 50% cheaper, and 1/3 less time to install compared with traditional BTU meter based systems. 

Enter Bob Ramlow:

Rarely do we design solar water heaters to provide 100 percent of your hot water. There are just too many cloudy days over the course of a year. Nevertheless, a typical solar water heater will provide between 50- and 75 percent of your annual load. In hot climates, or during the sunniest times of the year, you can expect to get nearly 100 percent of your hot water from solar. And even during the cloudiest periods, you may get as much as 50 percent, depending on your climate.

In cool climates, you should allow 20 square feet of collector and 20 gallons of storage capacity for each person in the household. For large families, you can reduce this by 10 percent for each person over four members in the household. In warm climates, size the system with 15 square feet of collector and 25 gallons of storage for each person in the household, with the same reductions for larger families. These sizing methods will give the best return on investment. Smaller systems will work well, but your savings will be less.


“With this Solar Training, Can I Become an Installer?”

Here’s a question that we get a lot:

After taking your course, will I have enough knowledge to install a complete solar pv system?

It’s one of those questions that is difficult to answer because it’s such a loaded question and there are so many variables.
Here is my response:
It depends.

Here are some things to consider when you’re looking into the installation business. These are relevant whether you’re starting a company, expanding an existing company or if you’re a professional working within a company.
What is your background?
Whether or not our training will prepare you to install a complete solar pv system will depend on your background. What business are you coming from? If you have been a general contractor, electrician or roofer for the past 20 years and now want to do solar, then the answer is most probably yes. It will give you enough information so you’ll know how to design systems. With your background, you’ll most probably have the relationships needed to get subs, pull permits and bid a job. Basically, if you’re coming from the construction business, either residential or commercial, or in a related field, you’re almost 90% there. You just need to learn the solar specific information.