Posted by admin | | Sunday 15 February 2009 8:30 pm

What Do You Do Next?

Before you buy and install a solar water heating system, you need to first consider your site’s solar resource. The efficiency and design of a solar water heating system depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches your building site.

Solar water heating systems use both direct and diffused solar radiation. Even if you don’t live in a climate that’s warm and sunny most of the time, your site will still have an adequate solar resource. If your building site has unshaded areas and generally faces south, it’s a good candidate for a solar water heating system.

Are you ready…?

We can compute all the calculations for you on our DOGSTAR SOLAR SYSTEM DESIGN Web Site, and we will guide and handle any installation issues for you DIY’ers.  We will install your system locally, or ship everything to you with full consultation, phone and online suport, specs, and design plans for you or your installers/plumber.

If you have your annual heating costs, propane or natural gas bills, the rest is easy. Our solar panels will reduce 80% – 90% of your domestic hot water needs, and 30% -50% of your house heating, baseboard, or in-floor heat, with a payback in about 4 1/2 years on the average. House heating requires very high temps and solar efficiency will be restricted slightly with those high temps. Your annual water/house heating cost is what we need to help you figure out the big picture.

Send us an email note ( DSS CUSTOMER SERVICE ), as to your questions or design ideas.


Do It Yourself”ers:

Another important issue is your available sunlight. For the DIY,  the first thing to do is step outside at noon and look at your shadow;  it points about True North. Turn around, to the South, and see what is in your way as far as sunlight goes. Raise your arm half way up, about 45 degrees, and move it back and forth at that angle. Any obstructions in your way?  If the panels were on ground, would that make any difference?

google-earth1—– Click on the “Earth”, or the link, and enter your solar project address to see the solar  orientation in regards to true south for the most efficient solar insolation.

*           GOOGLE EARTH


Now, find out the SOLAR INSOLATION for your area. Go to this web site or online search for Solar Insolation.


Find an area near yours and write down the annual average on the right side side of the table. This is the average solar BTU’s per day in Sq. Meters.   ( example Denver, CO = 4.55  )

Then multiply that daily number by  317.1.    That will convert to  Sq Ft per day solar radiation for your area.

Multiply that daily Sq Ft of solar radiation times  365.  That will be the average solar btu heat for your area per year.

—-To use Denver as an example:  4.55 x 317.1 = 526,623 btu’s per sq ft per day.

That,   x  365 days = 192,217,696  solar btu’s per year in the Denver area.   *** Now you will know the amount of solar energy available for your area. Take the per day number… write it down. Now look at your water heating/house heating bills and figure out the yearly use of fossil fuels:  gallons of propane, therms of natural gas, gallons of heating oil, or Kwh of electric heat.



If you need an entire system complete with all materials, we can do that also. If your project is a commercial building, farm, new construction, or existing home, we will design your system as needed to meet your energy production and ensure a high return on your investment. The value of your house increases many times more than your initial solar investment.

An average family of 4 in cold weather areas will need one or two solar panels. The average costs for storage tanks if needed, pumps, valves, delivery and installation will put the complete Domestic Hot Water Systems between $3000 to $4000 out of pocket with excellent return and payback on your investment in about 3-5 years. Remember, a simple solar domestic hot water system for under $4,000 actual cost will reduce your fossil fuel bills up to 90% with payback in less than 5 years.  A solar house heating  system will save you 30%-50% of your house heating bills. You could save over $10,000 in 10 years with inflation and over $200,000 over the lifetime of the solar thermal system.

The product warranty is 3 years for DIY, and 10 years if we do the install. Our SRCC rated, Solar Evacuated Tube Systems have a life expectancy of over 30 years, and qualify for the 30% Federal Tax Credit, plus other local tax credits for your area, as described on the SOLAR TAX INCENTIVES / TAX CREDITS link.