Office (540) 325-0750
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SUNPEAK USA Inc.

                 FAQ's

1.      Is solar water heating a viable alternative to gas or electricity?

2.      How long will it take to recoup my investment (chart included)?

3.      Can SUNPEAK USA Inc. Solar collectors be used in cold climates?

4.      What happens if one of the tubes is broken?

5.      Will water be heated on a cloudy day?

6.      Can I use a solar collector with my existing hot water system?

7.      Are solar collectors noticeable on the roof?

8.      Can SUNPEAK USA Inc. Solar collectors be mounted on a flat surface?

9.      How do I protect my system during sub zero temperatures?

10.  Will the Solar Collector be a fire hazard in hot dry weather?

11.  Can SUNPEAK USA Inc. Solar collector’s heat water to a high enough temperature?

12.  Do all solar water heaters dissipate heat?

13.  How does a heat dissipater control excessive heat buildup?

14.  What maintenance of the Solar collector is required?

15.  Can SUNPEAK USA Inc. Solar collectors be used for large scale projects (schools, hotels)?

16. Can I heat my swimming pool/hot tub using SUNPEAK USA Inc. Solar collectors?

17. Are solar tube collectors more efficient than flat plate collectors?

18.Which collector is the best value for money?

19. What is the Solar Radiation level where I live?

20. How do I calculate what size collector I require?

21. Can I retrofit my existing hot water heater?

22. Where can I purchase a solar collector unit?



1. Is solar water heating a viable alternative to gas or electricity?
Solar should be seen as a supplement to gas or electric. Solar cannot replace the need for gas or electric heating as there are some days when there is little sunlight. When averaged over a year, a correctly sized solar system can provide approximately 80% of your household’s hot water needs. Providing more than this is unadvisable and too much heat will be produced in the summer and cause the water to boil.  The hot water system can easily be automated so hot water is guaranteed regardless of sunlight levels.

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2. How long will it take to recoup my investment?

SUNPEAK  USA Inc. Solar collectors are much more affordable than many other solar hot water heaters.  Depending on your location (solar levels) and current hot water usage, the annual electricity or gas savings will differ.  However in a normal household that spends 30% of its electricity bill on hot water heating, the full cost of the purchase may be recouped as quickly as 2 to 3 years in reduced bills. You will have considerable savings over the life of the solar hot water heater.

It is possible to work out the payback period of your new SUNPEAK  USA Inc. Solar Hot Water Heater. The following is an example of a Payback Period Calculation: *These cost figures are based off of the most current data and will change from time to time.  Please access the payback tab for the most current  price and incentive calculations!

 

SUNPEAK USA INC. Solar Hot Water Heater: www.gtc-solar.com/tools.html 65 Gallon Pre-Packaged System  $2,650.00
  Absorber Area  3.8 m2 Installation/balance $1,320.00
65
Gallon
System
Insolation level 4.89 @ San Francisco Total Installed Cost $3,970.00
Electrical cost   .14 cents kwh *see below
Federal/State Incentives: California ($1,500.00 rebate) ($1,500.00)
Federal Res. (30% tax rebate) ($1,191.00)
Cost of System after Incentives   $1,279.00
    Estimated Annual Savings: $612.00
    Electrical Cost Increase Rate: Not Figured
  Payback Period Calculation Chart: The system pays for itself in 3 years and 1 month, and then it pays you $612.00 or more each year for the lifetime of the unit.
  Year Annual Savings Remaining System Cost
  Year 1 $612.00 $1,279.00
  Year 2 $612.00 $667.00
  Year 3 $612.00 $55.00    
  Year 4 $612.00 $-557.00    

 

  The SUNPEAK USA Inc. Solar Hot Water Heater in the above example has a payback period of just over 3  years.  As the electrical prices increase you will start saving money at an earlier date.  ***This is only an example as your savings and payback period will vary.

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3. Can solar collectors be used in cold conditions?
Yes. Our collectors can be used in temperatures as low as -30 C, although performance is greatly reduced in such extreme conditions. Exceptional heat output is still achieved in mild sub-zero conditions.

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4. What happens if one of the solar tubes is broken?
Your vacuum tubes are very strong and not easily broken, but if a breakage should happen, solar tubes can be replaced very easily. They are inexpensive and available from SUNPEAK USA Inc. The solar collectors can operate with several broken tubes, but the efficiency will be reduced, so it is recommended that broken tubes be replaced immediately.

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5. Will water be heated on a cloudy day?
Yes. Although the heat output of the solar collector is reduced on overcast days it will still be able to provide heating. If it is a complete overcast day or raining, then more gas/oil or electric boost may be required to maintain the water at the required temperature. The system is automated so you don’t have to worry about running out of hot water on a rainy day.

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6. Can I use a solar collector with my existing hot water system?
Generally yes!  Your existing tank can be used in series with the tank that comes with the package.  This allows a larger storage capacity and hence more hot water and now you are using the Solar tank as a preheater to your normal hot water system.

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7. Are the solar collectors noticeable on the roof?
   Yes. You are telling the world that you care about the environment and they will be jealous of your investment and want one.  This will become a status symbol.

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8. Can solar collectors be mounted on a flat surface?
Yes, the system comes with a roof assembly that elevates the collector to the appropriate angle to achieve the most efficiency in your latitude or distance from the equator. The collector should be installed at a minimum of a 20˚ angle to ensure optimal heat pipe operation.

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9. How do I protect my solar system during subzero temperatures?
The system uses propylene glycol which is of a non- toxic food grade type and is used as antifreeze.  You can purchase this high grade product from SUNPEAK USA Inc. on this web site.

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10. Will the solar collector be a fire hazard during hot, dry weather?
No. The solar collector’s components are all high temperature rated and non-flammable.  If for some reason the electricity fails and your circulation pump is inoperative the unit will hit the stagnation point (a condition when the fluid in the heat pipe hits maximum operating temperature).  During this high temperature the system will not catch fire nor give off any sparks due to the temperature relief valve that is incorporated into the system to prevent the system from overheating and protect your components.

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11. Can the solar collector heat water to a high enough temperature?
Yes, in good weather the solar collector can bring water up to boiling point.  This is not necessary and the Sunpeak USA Inc. systems are designed to provide a daily temperature rise of around 25-30oC (45-54oF) in the summer.

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12. Do all solar water heaters dissipate heat?

All solar and conventional water heaters do dissipate heat and in so doing cool down the water held in the storage tank. Most of  the dissipated heat  is  lost  through  the  insulation  that  surrounds  the  storage  tank and the copper tubing (plumbers call this a “line set”) that runs from the solar panels to the solar tank. If energy is not added to the stored water eventually the water temperature will return to equal that of the surrounding air.  When the sun is heating the solar collectors, most of the solar energy is transferred via the heat transfer fluid “propylene glycol” through the line set into the storage tank lower coils to heat the water.  The balance is lost or dissipated back to the surrounding air.  When the sun is not out, the solar collector cools to a temperature below that of the water in the storage tank and will not contribute to any heat dissipation because the pump system is automatically selected  to the off position.  After extended periods of hot and sunny weather and during which there has been negligible hot water use, a solar water heater can “stagnate" or heat to an unsafe condition. {SUNPEAK USA Inc. has incorporated a Heat Dissipater or radiator safety feature which solves the problem of stagnation inherent to solar collectors.}   Under stagnation conditions, the temperature of the water in the storage tank is hot and stable.  This happens because  the amount of heat dissipated  through  the  storage  tank  insulation  is equal  to  the amount of  solar energy transferred into the water in the storage tank from the solar collectors.  The temperature at which stagnation occurs ("the stagnation temperature") is a critical design parameter for a solar water heater.  Other companies allow their units to stagnate which causes the water in an open loop system or glycol in a closed loop system to boil off through the over temperature/over pressure valve.

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13. How does a heat dissipater control excessive heat buildup?

Heat dissipaters are radiator type units designed to take the excess heat buildup in your solar system generally caused by very sunny, long days, when the home owner is away on vacation, (lack of hot water use) and transfer that heat to the surrounding air.  This is done in the same way as the radiator in your car.  It is done automatically via the electronic controller sensing that the water is too hot and then an electrical signal is transmitted to a control valve to open.  The fluid is then routed through the heat dissipater and cools the system to an appropriate value.  SUNPEAK USA Inc.  heat dissipaters can dissipate the entire heat generated by the solar collector of your selected unit.  Many other companies don’t sell this important safety feature with their product and may only offer it as an accessory.

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14. What is the maintenance of the solar collector?
Under normal circumstances no maintenance of the system is required. Every few years you should change the heat transfer fluid water mixture.  Due to the circular shape of the tubes, regular rainfall should keep the tubes clean.  Should a vacuum tube become damaged in a storm after being hit by a large branch or loose its vacuum (note the silver tip on the bottom of the tube turns white), efficiency will be slightly reduced, but the collector can still operate with several broken tubes.

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15. Can solar collectors be used for a large scale hot water production?
Yes. Solar collectors can be connected in series or parallel to provide large scale hot water production for a commercial sized project such as a school, hotel or office building. There is no limit to the size of the system, however collectors must be installed in banks of no more than 90 tubes (in series), otherwise the fluid may boil.

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16. Can I heat my swimming pool or spa using a solar collector?
Our collectors are high temperature collectors, and are ideal for spas, as the volume of water is small and temperature requirements high. For swimming pools, collectors may be an extremely viable supplement to gas /oil or electricity.

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17. Are solar tube collectors more efficient than flat plate collectors?
The key points are:

 DCT Surface Power

 www.surfacepower.ie/pdf/Comparison_Sheet_Collectors.pdf

COMPARISON BETWEEN EVACUATED HEAT PIPE SYSTEMS AND FLAT PLATE SYSTEMS

NEW

Evacuated Heat Pipe Vacuum Tubes

OLD

Flat-plate Solar Panels

The collector is hermetically sealed inside an evacuated glass tube, eliminating convection and conduction heat losses and isolating the collector from adverse ambient conditions. Therefore, no heat losses due to convection and conduction and no change of performance during the service life of the collector due to corrosion.

The collector is put in a casing with a glass shield to help reduce heat loss. The air gap between absorber and cover pane allows heat losses to occur, especially during cold and windy days. Build up of condensation will in due course influence the collector greatly due to corrosion, reducing performance and durability.

Uses a heat-pipe for super efficient heat conduction. No water enters into the collector.

Circulates water inside insulated areas. Prone to leakage, corrosion and restriction of flow due to possible air lock.

The heat-pipe has a self-limitation of maximum working temperature through the physical properties of its special fluid resulting in safeguarding the system and system fluid (water and anti-freeze mixture.

Flat-plate collectors have no internal method of limiting heat build up and have to use outside tempering devices. When these safety or control devices fail the system and/or system-fluid can be destroyed.

Thermal diode operation principle. The heat pipe’s thermal flows one way only; from the collector to the water and never in the reverse.

Flat-plates can actually rob the water of built up heat if the collector becomes colder than the water temperature.

Corrosion and freeze free; there is nothing within the evacuated tube to freeze and the hermetic sealing of each tube eliminates corrosion.

Flat-plate collectors contain water and unless well protected can burst upon freezing. Corrosion can become a major problem reducing performance.

Easy installation and no maintenance. Lightweight individual collector tubes are assembled into the system at the point of installation. Each tube is an independently sealed unit requiring no maintenance.

Installation is difficult. Entire panels have to be hoisted onto the roof and installed. If one has a leak, the entire collector has to be shut down and removed.

Relatively insensitive to placement angle, allowing architectural and aesthetic freedom.

Requires accurate southern exposure and elevation placement.

Due to the cylindrical shape of the evacuated tube, the sun is perpendicular to the surface of the glass for most of the day.

Flat plate collectors have the disadvantage that the sun is only perpendicular to the collector at noon and thus a proportion of the sunlight striking the surface of the collector is likely to be reflected.

Another good source of information about flat plate collectors vs. the vacuum tube is the following web site: www.planetenergy.co.uk/Solar%20Vacuum%20v%20Flat%20Collector%20Comparison.pdf

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18. Which collector is the best value for money?

This is answered by a combination of the cost per kWh and the cost of the unit.  You will find that our prices allow you to make the best purchase decision for your money.  SUNPEAK USA Inc. has the lowest prices in the United States.  We will match the advertised price of any competitor on the same solar package unit plus give you $50.00 usd.  ***restrictions apply

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19. What is the Solar Radiation level where I live?  You can go to the Direction and Angle of Installation page on this web-site and select the question What is Insolation? Click here to see the level at your locality.  Or e-mail us at sales@sunpeakusa.com  or call {540-325-0750} and we can work up an analysis of your exact location. 

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20. How do I calculate what size collector I require?
 SUNPEAK USA Inc.

# of persons

 # of tubes

Hot Water       Storage Tank

     1-2

 

20

 

   65    us gallons

 

     3-4

 

30

 

   80    us gallons

 

     5- more

 

48

 

   120  us gallons

 

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21.  Can I retrofit my existing hot water heater?

Yes, Sunpeak USA Inc. has designed a retrofit kit that can replace the lower element in your existing electric hot water heater.  

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22. Where can I purchase a solar collector?
Go to Price List/Shopping Cart tab on this web site, e-mail us at sales@sunpeakusa.com or give us a call at 540-325-0750 or you could skype @ Mark W. Prince

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  THE END

 



Our products are currently under review by the US SRCC and will not enable you to receive the rebates until that review is complete. We anticipate having the testing completed in time to enable you to use the deductions on your 20
10 tax returns. Our sales are predicated off having the SRCC rating completed and it is our #1 priority.
Mark W. Prince President Sales/Customer Satisfaction