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Solar Thermal Heating



  • 50%-70% reduction in energy for water heating
  • Typical payback 5-10 years - even less with state and federal incentives!
  • Works in any home or business

Solar radiation is unevenly distributed throughout the year, greater in the summer, lesser in the winter. Transforming solar radiation into usable energy is a function of temperature; the higher required temperature, the lower the efficiency even of the best insulated collector. In the case of water heating, the threshold temperature for delivery of useful solar energy is low with incoming water temperature, typically at 55° to 60° F (13° to 15° C). Moreover, the interaction of the supply of sunshine and the demand for hot water is very fortunate: the daily hot water load is fairly constant throughout the year so that all available sunshine can be profitably used for immediate consumption.

Solar Thermal energy can provide a large percentage of your hot water needs and reduce by 50% to 70% the energy consumed by your existing system. It provides substantial savings for both residential and commercial buildings. Typical payback time for solar thermal systems range from 5-10 years - even faster with state incentives and Federal tax credits.

Types of Systems

Solar Hot Water

  • High return on your investment
  • Works year round, even when it is cloudy
Learn more...

Solar Pool Heating

  • Experience huge energy savings
  • Enjoy your pool earlier in the Spring & later into the Fall
  • Most versatile system
Learn more...

Solar Space Heating

  • A very comfortable way to heat
  • Can be retrofitted into an existing home, or installed in a new home
Learn more...

Dovetail primarily designs solar thermal systems utilizing flat-plate solar collectors from Heliodyne and Schuco. We also offer high temperature evacuated tubes from Apricus and Sundra in a variety of configurations.

Information on Heliodyne solar thermal systems

Information on Schuco solar thermal systems

Heliodyne is one of the oldest and most respected firms in the solar energy industry. They have a solid reputation for providing unexcelled equipment and service at a competitive cost. Heliodyne provides complete solar energy systems, not just the collectors. Solid engineering has gone into designing these systems and matching all components. Dovetail works with Heliodyne to size your system; to provide the optimal system to satisfy your particular requirements. Heliodyne manufactured systems also offer the advantage of simplicity of design and construction. Dovetail does not need to worry about compatibility of parts, and can concentrate on providing you a professional installation. This is a very crucial point in the overall economic efficiency of your system.

Heliodyne flat plate collectors are built to perform efficiently under the harsh condition they are continuously exposed to: sun and rain, heat and cold, pollution, wind, and neglect. Their output will not reduce with age as is so often the case with other solar collectors: The materials are chosen for their stability and the workmanship is of the highest quality. They are manufactured in Richmond, CA. These collectors are truly an industrial product of durability and simplicity, named after the harshest desert of the world: The Gobi. Click here for specifications for Heliodyne Gobi collectors.

Click here for a nice video on Heliodyne and their products.

The Heliodyne heat transfer and control modules, called HELIO-PAKS, are engineered with reliability and simplicity in mind. Dovetail has experience with HELIO-PAKS of different sizes and configurations. We recognized early that the proper heat transfer module is a crucial part in a solar energy system and selected the HELIO-PAK line. Problems of maintenance (i.e. fouling), poor performance (i.e. incorrect flow rates), as well as outright break-downs (i.e. freezing) are all connected with poorly designed systems.

Our most popular systems are closed-loop systems. We use direct PV powered pumps and AC powered pumps with differential controllers. Both types of systems are easily applied to a home or commercial building. Most are designed to operate year round, while some pool heating systems are used only in summer months. 

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Solar Thermal Features

  • Systems are reliable, and offer trouble-free performance for years.
  • Solar Hot Water Collectors work in any part of the country and in every season.
  • Creates clean power – reduces pollution.
  • Heat exchanger can attach directly to your existing electric hot water tank.
    Solar Thermal systems can provide 100% of your heat for domestic hot water in the Summer, and 40% to 70% in the Spring and Fall, of the while using utility electric or gas for supplemental secondary heating during these seasons. In the Midwest, Solar Thermal provides from 10% to 30% of your heat energy in winter months.
  • Pool and Spa owners see huge savings on heating bills and can enjoy the pool earlier in the spring and later in the fall.
  • Heated water can also be used to heat living space.
  • Solar Thermal is especially cost-effective at facilities such as restaurant kitchens, laundries or camp showers that use large quantities of hot water.

To learn more about Solar Thermal Systems see the following guide provided by the U.S. Dept. of Energy: "Heat Your Water With The Sun" (618 KB pdf file)

Check out our pricing for solar heating systems Renewable Energy Investments and Incentives

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