Anatomy of a Solar Hot Water System

Our systems typically use one or two locally manufactured Thermo-Dynamics solar thermal panels, depending on how much hot water your home goes through on average. Each system also needs a photo-voltaic panel, which can be mounted on the side of a thermal collector.

The suns' rays pass through the glass surface of the thermal panel, and get absorbed by the black composite fins found inside. Each fin has a copper tube embedded within it. The glycol flows through the copper tube, thus absorbing heat from the thermal panel to be carried back down to the Solar Boiler®.

The photo-voltaic panel absorbs the sun's energy and converts it into DC electricity that directly powers the glycol pump on the Solar Boiler®. That means that you can run our systems even when the electric grid goes down!

  Get a quote

Inside each thermal panel you will find a series of black sunstrip absorber fins. These fins directly absorb the sun's radiant heat energy, and also absorb some of the heat of the air inside the thermal panel through convection.

The Sunstrip absorber consists of two layers of aluminum sheet metal that sandwich a copper tube between them, forming a metallurgical bond at the molecular level. This molecular bond ensures that the absorber transfers the maximum amount of heat to the glycol flowing through the copper tube. That's why the Sunstrip fins are used in more than 20 different countries, and are the most widely distributed solar absorber material in the world.

  Get a quote

Every solar hot water system needs a place to store the heat energy that is collected from the sun. That's where the solar hot water storage tank comes into play! These Canadian made tanks from Giant
Giant is a Montreal-based manufacturer of hot water tanks that has been in operation since 1945.
feature a 275 liter glass-lined construction and come with an eight year warranty.

The solar storage tank gets plumbed into the existing hot water system in your home, and provides pre-heated water to your existing hot water heater. This saves tons of energy because now instead of your hot water heater heating up cold city or well water from 5°C, it only has to heat up the preheated water from your solar system which can be as high as 70°C, depending on the weather and time of year.

  Get a quote

The Solar Boiler® by Thermo-Dynamics is the part of the system that exchanges heat energy from the hot glycol to the water in the solar storage tank. This is also the part of the system that pumps the glycol up to the solar panels on the roof.

Once the glycol has been pumped through the panels and back down to the Solar Boiler®, it travels through several copper coils which are submerged in water. The heat from the glycol travels through the wall of the copper coils and heats up the surrounding water.

When the water heats up, it becomes less dense and rises out of the Solar Boiler® and to the top of the solar storage tank. At the same time, the hot water rising out of the Solar Boiler® is replaced by cool water from the bottom of the solar storage tank, through a process called thermo-siphoning.

  Get a quote

The line run is the part of the system that carries glycol from the Solar Boiler® to the solar panels, and back again. It also carries electricity from the PV panel down to the Solar Boiler®, providing power to run the glycol pump directly from the sun!

The line run consists of two 38" copper tubes that carry the glycol and a wire that carries power from the PV panel and signals from the glycol temperature sensor on the roof. The copper tubes are insulated with Armacell insulation Armacell invented flexible insulation in 1954, and has been a leader in the insulation industry ever since. to prevent heat loss, and are typically enclosed in a plastic casing called SlimDuct®
Inaba Denko is a Japanese manufacturer who's SlimDuct® products are the industry standard for encasing exterior heating system line runs.
that runs along an exterior wall of your house.

  Get a quote

We're the solar experts

We've been installing solar panels in Nova Scotia for decades, so we know a thing or two about how to get the job done. As the primary installation company under the Halifax Solar City program, we have been installing literally hundreds of solar systems each year. We are fully certified through the Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association, and take pride in providing a full solar system solution to homeowners; from permitting and design, to installation and maintenance.

  More on Doctor Solar

Monitor your system in real time

With Doctor Solar's Web Energy Logging System, you can see exactly how well your solar hot water system is performing in real time. Just log in to your monitoring system web page to check up on all the aspects of your solar system, including how much money you've saved and how well the system is performing. Best of all, if you think there's a problem with your system, just let us know and we can often diagnose and fix it with you over the phone by checking out your monitoring data!

Starting at
$6100+tax
  • One S32 Thermo Dynamics Collector
  • Thermo Dynamics Solar Boiler®
  • 275 Litre Storage Tank
  • Line Run
  • Installation & Plumbing
Starting at
$7200+tax
  • Two S32 Thermo Dynamics Collector
  • Thermo Dynamics Solar Boiler®
  • 275 Litre Storage Tank
  • Line Run
  • Installation & Plumbing

Ready to go solar?