Why don't SunWaterMV systems tie into the grid?
an Alternative Energy Specialist, it is my job to know Energy
Alternatives and to provide the best technology, now and for the
foreseeable future. That is why I list a cost comparison of various
renewables. When I am sure something better is coming along, I will
be ready to switch to it! The SunWaterMV Mission is to provide the
most effective technology available.
might only offer Photovoltaics or Wind, that might tie into the grid.
& Air Conditioners might only offer Geothermal, or Flat Plates.
What is NABCEP and why is it important?
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is a
non-profit that exists to provide standards, protect the public,
raise professionalism, improve the state of the art, and provide
a licensed Master Plumber is required to connect your solar thermal
storage system to your domestic water system in many cases, that is a
small fraction of the specialized knowledge required. EVT Solar
thermal is a relatively new technology, and plumbers already have a
wide range of expertise in which they must be proficient. In many
cases a Certified Solar Thermal professional should be your first
choice for your installation.
How fast do Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water (EVT SHW) systems pay
than anything else in most cases. In 2001 EVT SHW became
commercially available. Your system could have paid itself off in
fuel or electricity savings by now, and you could be enjoying free
hot water and heat energy forever. What could you do with the
savings? Maybe you could invest in your next alternative energy
need, like a Heat Pump or Photovoltaics. The reverse is less likely.
How can I afford a Solar Thermal EVT system?
is easier than you might think. Many SunWaterMV clients have
zero-interest loans and have no up front costs. Zero interest loans are essentially an additional incentive
and easier to qualify. The loan can be structured with the payments
equal to the fuel savings, after the Federal and State incentives are
counted, so it is retired about the same time the system pays itself
off. Folding it into a construction loan works too.
What about stories of other technologies with faster paybacks?
can happen. Deals are sometimes found on photovoltaic panels and
wind, etc., and special circumstances may occasionally make different alternatives
more economical, but the longevity issues remain.
Why should I consider EVT Solar now instead of something else?
is similar to a home mortgage. Everyone knows that the first
financial goal for new households is the home mortgage, and that you
get it as soon as you can manage it. Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water
is in a class all by itself because it is usually has the fastest
payback, and then provides free energy with almost zero maintenance
for 25 years or more. You can leverage the savings against the
tyranny of utility costs.
And there has never been a better time to install Solar
Thermal. Plumbing is the largest cost, and labor & interest
rates are at historic lows. Apricus has been constantly improving
their product by making it better and less expensive.
Isn't lots of insulation an alternative as effective as installing
an Evacuated Tube System?
Although proper insulation, sealing leaks and other reasonable
measures can help you make the most of your Solar Energy, neither
insulation nor any other measure can compete with EVT Solar Thermal
at this Latitude for pure economic advantage in a conventional home.
What do I have to do with the system when it freezes outside, or
when we are away and it is Sunny?
SunWaterMV systems are "Set and Forget."
Can I use a SunWaterMV System instead of "winterizing,"
and avoid possible leaks in the Spring?
Yes! EVT Systems use free sunlight to keep your home from freezing in
winter, and then makes hot water at no cost in Summer.
What kind of maintenance of SunWaterMV Systems are required?
In Spring and Fall,
the Hi-Temp Antifreeze (NOT propylene glycol!) for neutral pH, and inspect
the system for damage.
If a tube is damaged, the system does not
have to shut down. The loss of winter performance per broken tube on an
AP-30 is about 2%, and replacement can be when convenient. Each tube
expensive battery banks to replace, or turbine service.
What if I'm not ready to give up my existing, or "primary"
is not necessary. During sequential rainy days your "primary"
system may be needed. Your EVT will "hybridize" your
systems to make the fuel they use go much farther, just like a Prius.
If an EVT system is large enough, it can run with the boiler off,
regardless of weather. Most systems save around half of
previous fuel usage.
Can I simply replace my old failed heating system with an EVT
usually. You will need some kind of backup for inclement weather,
unless you choose a large EVT system. However, you may have an
opportunity to make your "primary" system a heat pump,
which can save energy and money compared to a conventional heating
system, while giving you the added benefit of air conditioning.
How good are Apricus Collectors?
Better! Even on cloudy or hazy days they can often be seen to
operate at over half of their highest temperatures. Only on the
darkest rainy days do they not climb well above ambient. (See
How likely is a Tube failure?
in 10,000 since 2001. Apricus Quality Control reports on the
in-service Tube failure rates as an ISO 9001 company. (See
What is better, "Flat Plate" or "Evacuated Tube"
Tubes work better on the Cape & Islands. We live above Latitude
35. Flat plates lose around 90% as much heat as they gain when it
is cold. There are around 5 hours of sun in winter and 16 in the
summer. Either type of system will probably be designed to reject a
little extra heat in summer in order to capture as much heat as
possible in winter.
Solar Thermal Editor Chuck Marken's excellent and balanced article on
the difference between Evacuated Tubes and Flat Plate collectors in
"Home Power" #138. The salient point is the last
sentence: "Insulation is supreme at higher temperature
differences..." The "Insulation" referred to in the
Evacuated Tube is - in effect - a vacuum bottle. The high
"temperature difference" is between the cold air outside
and the warm temperature inside the collector.
have satisfied customers who can verify how well EVTs work. See
Aren't "Flat Plates" cheaper?
most people, the long-term answer is "no." Most equal Flat
Plates can only provide about a fifth of the energy in winter when
you need it. You won't need it in summer, when they have a 5% - 20%
efficiency advantage. A couple of hundred dollars more for an
Evacuted Tube Collector can mean hundreds of dollars in savings every
What "Category" applies on the SRCC certification chart
for the Apricus AP-30 at this Latitude?
D & E apply. A typical AP-30 collector outlet temperature can easily be
160°F or more, when it is 20°F here. The difference is 140°F. That is
where EVT's have the clear advantage. (See SRCC.org Ratings)
Anyone who claims it should be category C or B may be trying to lower the bar to make a different product seem as effective.
AP-30 captures 21 times more energy on a cloudy day at 20°F than the
best equal Flat Plate Collector found on the SRCC site. The
Viessmann 200-F SV2 and SH2, shows a "y intercept" 15%
higher than an Apricus AP-30 in summer conditions, when you
don't need it.
How long will Apricus EVT systems last?
years might be possible. The first Apricus systems, installed in
2001, have had no significant failures.
glass is used in underwater, runway and traffic lights. The
vacuum joint is melted glass.
copper can last essentially forever with Hi-Temp antifreeze.
circulator pumps are used. When was the last time you heard of one
weakest link is always the tank. Keeping your water at neutral pH
and within a narrow range of hardness can go a long way to keeping
your tank in service.
there be something better by then? Maybe. Will this be worth
keeping up anyway? Probably! (See Apricus.com)
If Thermal-Electric conversion (TE) materializes in 2013 as announced,
you will be able to draw electrical power from your hot water tank at
twice the efficiency of conventional photovoltaic panels, without the
expense and longevity issues.
I have radiant heat now. Will EVT work?
Radiant is the best application after simple Domestic Hot Water.
Very little additional equipment must be added to the basic EVT
system, and the temperatures required are well within the limits of
storage tanks in the United States.
Why are the Tubes that odd color?
glass is smooth and reflects a tiny amount of the color of the sky.
Otherwise, they would be completely black, because the Absorber
converts almost all of the light to heat. On a clear day EVT Tubes
look dark deep blue.
Can I use PEX instead of copper?
PEX is only good to about 300°F. An EVT system can get ripping
hot, and must even be installed with high temperature solder!
How long is the Apricus Warranty?
years. See Apricus.com
What does "Apricus" mean?
Mick Humphries chose it because it is Latin for "reverence for