Low carbon

Solar Heating & Solar Cooling

Solar heating & cooling (SHC) technologies collect the thermal energy from the sun and use this heat to provide hot water, space heating, cooling, and pool heating for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. These technologies displace the need to use electricity or natural gas. Today, Americans across the country are at work manufacturing and installing solar heating and cooling systems that significantly reduce our dependence on imported fuels. We need smart policies to expand this fast‐growing, job‐producing sector.

Basics of Solar Water Heating Technology

Solar water heating systems can be installed on most homes in the U.S., and are comprised of three main elements: the solar collector, insulated piping, and a hot water storage tank. Electronic controls can also be included, as well as a freeze protection system for colder climates. The solar collector gathers the heat from solar radiation and transfers the heat to potable water. This heated water flows out of the collector to a hot water tank, and is used as necessary. Auxiliary heating can remain connected to the hot water tank for back‐up if necessary.

Basics of Solar Air Technology

Solar air heating is a solar thermal technology used for commercial and industrial buildings in which the energy from the sun is captured and used to heat air. It addresses one of the largest usages of building energy in heating climates, which is space heating. It is also used for agricultural drying.

Most solar air heating systems are wall-mounted, which allow them to capture a maximum amount of solar radiation in the winter. Specially perforated solar collector panels are installed several inches from a south facing wall, creating an air cavity. The air is generally taken off the top of the wall and is heated anywhere from 30-100 degrees F above ambient on a sunny day. The solar heated air is then ducted into the building via a connection to the HVAC intake.

In colder climates with the possibility of freezing temperatures, an indirect system is used. An antifreeze solution, such as non-toxic propylene glycol, is heated in the solar collector and circulated to the hot water storage tank via a heat exchanger. The potable water in the storage tank is warmed by the hot, antifreeze‐filled heat exchanger, and the heated water can then be used as necessary, while the cooled glycol is piped back to the solar collector to be heated again.

Another common type of solar water heating system design for cold climates is called “drainback.” This type of solar energy system typically uses water as the heat transfer fluid, and is designed to allow all of the water in the solar collector to “drain back” to a holding tank in a heated portion of the building it is used on. When no sunlight is available for heating, the solar pump turns off and the water flows into the drainback tank by means of gravity.

No matter which type of solar energy system is employed, a properly designed and installed soalr water heating system can be expected to provide a significant percentage (40 to 80 percent) of a building’s hot water needs.

Some US companies that Provide Solar Heating Products


SunEarth Inc. was incorporated in the state of California in May 1978, and has since grown to become one of the most experienced solar thermal product manufacturers in the world. SunEarth’s strength lies in the engineering, manufacturing and distribution of world class solar water heating collectors, mounting hardware, ancillary components and integrated systems at competitive prices for each channel customer.

SunEarth’s primary production facility is served by an 184kW Solar World photovoltaic array that provides all the required electrical energy for our offices, production equipment, and forklifts. The facility also features natural daylighting, T-5 lighting when necessary, waterless toilet fixtures and drought tolerant landscaping.



Rheem Manufacturing Company is an American privately held manufacturer that produces residential and commercial water heaters and boilers, as well as heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. The company also produces and sells products under the Ruud brand name. It is a subsidiary of Paloma Industries. What became Rheem started in 1925 as a supplier of packaging to the petroleum industry, and is currently headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. The company is one of the largest manufacturers of both water heating and HVAC equipment in the United States, and also produces and markets products in Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bahrain, China, Brazil, Canada, Iraq, Kuwait, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE, and Ukraine.


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