Arc Solar Frequently Asked Questions
About Us
Why Solar?
Frequently Asked Questions
Contact Us

How does a solar thermal system work?

A solar system consists of a solar collector, a regulator, a multistage pump and a very good insulated hot water tank. The collector on the roof collects the energy from the sun with its absorbers and transfers it via a solar medium (glycol MH – the non-poisonous type). The heat is transferred through copper pipes into the solar storage tank. The solar station with its built-in regulator transports the heat via a heat exchanger, into a solar storage tank. In this way, the tank enables you to have hot water, even at night or during the days when the sun is not shining.

Could I use a solar system on my house?

The intensity of radiation is enough to make solar a viable energy source. As long as there is southeast, southwest or better still, a southern roof exposure without shade and a 20 – 60 degree angle on your roof to mount collectors on, it will be of great benefit. There is a requirement of 2 m2 per person, of collector area. Flat roofs and even secure areas around the home, close to the house, are also ideal. The solar storage tank space requirements are about 1 m2 and about 2 m in height.

When is it best to install a solar system?

It would make most sense to install solar systems during construction of a new home. The advantage of this approach is primarily ease of installation and speed but it also presents a cost saving of about 20% when compared to retrofitting. In any case, it would be wise to install piping for solar heating even if the system will not be installed until years later. Thus when installing later on, the cost will be lower. Also, existing heating systems can be updated and solar systems can be added later. It should be noted, however, that insulation must be considered when installing a new furnace as well as planning to combine a solar system.

In terms of financing an alternative energy system, it may be possible to obtain subsidies from the province or state to assist in the purchasing of such a system. Your H.V.A.C. contractor or we would be able to give you a reliable energy audit. Also, we will be able to assist you in obtaining assistance for your project.

How much thermal solar energy can I expect?

A well-planned and well-designed solar system can give a maximum of 70% saving on water heating during a year. From about May to the end of October, it is possible for a solar system to cover 100% of all hot water needs. For the remainder of the year, a reduced output is expected. The cold water supply, however, will be preheated and the rest of the hot water will come from the existing method of water heating that we can supply, without any loss of comfort. In any case, the saving will be substantial.

Can I cover my hot water needs with solar?

It is always recommended to conserve energy when showering, bathing or washing. 2000 solar kilowatt-hours of solar heating energy will suffice to heat water for about 4000 baths of about 150 litres each or 2000 showers of about 300 litres each.

The sun produces about 50% of energy use for warm water of 4000 washings or about 3000 dishwasher uses. The other 50% can be supported with electricity or natural gas. We would like to discuss with you the installation and cost of such a system.

As for a solar heating system, the cost of purchase and installation for a four-person residence would be about $10,000.

How can a solar system assist my heating and reduce my energy bills?

More and more people want to know how they can save money and cut down on their heating and water heating costs. We can design a combination solar system that will provide your domestic hot water and possibly heat your swimming pool and home. In the winter, the system will simply assist the furnace in heating the home. It must be noted that such systems require a larger number of collectors and storage capacity for the hot water to draw from. Therefore, a modern heating system, in conjunction with solar as well as good insulation, will provide quite considerable savings.

What is the life expectancy of a solar system?

The life expectancy of a solar system is between 20 and 30 years. The system can still produce heat even after 30 years if it receives regular maintenance check ups once a year. Service contracts can be made and are available. Some components are guaranteed for 10 years. Please see contract details.

How much would be the cost of a solar thermal system?

The cost of a solar thermal system for a 4-person household is between $6,000 and $8,000. If the homeowner requires a home heating system package, the cost increases to between $8,000 and $12,000. It is expected that even with additional costs for this option, the payback calculation would be approximately 7-10 years. It should be kept in mind that the system will last between 25 and 30 years. Of course, energy costs with all forms of energy are rising dramatically and will continue to do so in the future.

The cost of solar thermal energy is not likely to drop as might be expected by some people, because material and service costs are expected to rise. Thus deferring the purchase of a solar system has no cost benefit. When it comes to funding, financial institutions, credit unions and governments can help. As well, funding is available through us. We will be happy to provide you with assistance and exact information pertaining to all your energy needs.

What is the time required for installing a solar system?

The installation of a solar system will take, on average, about 2 to 3 days. It must be noted that the installation should conform with optical and architectural points of view as well as local by-laws, if they are applicable. Commercial systems are more complex and therefore would require more planning and time to install.

How much maintenance and service costs can I expect?

Like all types of heating, air-conditioning or ventilation equipment, solar systems should receive an annual service check so that they can function at their optimum level. It may be practical to service them at the same time as the air-conditioning system or furnace.


Design: Steiner Graphics