Monthly Archives: September 2013

Solar Thermal and Standing Seam Metal Roof Systems: Perfect Together

There’s been a lot of talk recently about solar photovoltaics being used with metal roofing. We’ve certainly done our share of explaining it—even have a PV system installed on our company roof.

But perhaps the most widely employed rooftop solar technology isn’t electric, it’s solar thermal for heating air and hot water. First, because it’s a lot less expensive to install and second, the payback is excellent.

Passive Solar Thermal System Under Metal RoofingSolar thermal water heating technologies rank among the simplest and oldest solar energy applications—hence they are the most cost efficient means of saving energy costs.

Four solar thermal technologies actually utilize the roof structure. Two of them –the evacuated tube technology and the flat plate collector—use the roof solely as a mounting system. But neither is reliant on the roofing surface for solar absorption. Two other systems employ under-the-roof solar thermal technology, using the standing seam metal roof as a critical component both for its solar absorption and as a means of protecting and prolonging the life of the system. Air-based solar thermal systems capture solar heated air and transfer it to the domestic water supply. Although air collectors are not quite as efficient as liquid collectors in heating water, the systems are simpler and require less maintenance than glycol water heaters. An air collector solar water heater uses the same type of differential control as a liquid system, but the differential is usually higher to account for the lower heat capacity of air. Continue reading

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