| Since the sun rises in the East, crosses over the horizon on the South and sets
in the West, you want your collector to face as much to True South on your roof
as possible. This is especially true for space heating where you need to be within
15 degrees of True South as shown below.
Up to 45 degrees East or West of true South has little effect
on year round domestic water heating. While
less desirable, a West or even an East facing water heating system
can work well, especially with an additional collector. Orientations
over 45 degrees, such as a home with a North-South ridgeline
can tilt the collectors South with a SolarRoofs.com tilt kit.
Click here to learn about optional tilt kits.
While most collectors are mounted on the roof, many have been
mounted on the ground, or on an awning on the side of the house.
Naturally, it is important that there not be any shading where
the collectors will go!
You Need a Good Collector Tilt
The collector angle is known as "tilt." While a typical
roof angle is 22 to 32 degrees, the tilt should be at least 15
degrees up from horizontal. Additional tilt usually has little
effect on total year-round performance unless you are in an area
with very sunny winters like Colorado.
A tilt angle equal to latitude is considered ideal for space heating. Because
the winter sun is so low in the sky, great results have been obtained by having
collectors flush on a vertical wall for space heating, which also prevents summer
You Need Space for your Solar Collectors
SolarRoofs.com's Skyline® collectors are rugged and powerful
yet light weight. These collectors are easy to carry by one person
and are much safer to get on the roof to install. Both the 10-01
and 20-01 collectors are available in architectural colors and
have an attractive appearance on the roof. No soldering is required
to install the collector(s).
You need a Good Path For Your Solar Lines From Your Collectors
to Your Solar Storage Tank
You need a good "path" for your two solar lines and
wires to go from your tank to your South facing roof. It
is desirable that this "path" be under 40 feet (one way), but up
to 80 feet (if well insulated) is OK.
You will be running two 1/2" outside diameter copper tubes
with a minimum of 1/2" thick high temperature insulation.
You will also be running at least one wire set on the outside
of the insulation for either power from a PV panel to the pump
and/or a sensor wire for a differential controller. Horizontal
lines need to be supported every six feet.
For PV pumped Open Loop systems 1 and 3, a second wire set may
be needed for a freeze snap switch, The Installation
Manuals have good guidance on running solar lines. You will
need a large enough storage tank or enough room for an added
Solar water heaters tend to have larger hot water storage capacity
than conventional water heaters. This is because solar heat is
available only during the day and sufficient hot water must be
collected to meet evening and morning requirements.
How well an active solar energy system performs depends on effective
siting, system design, location, and installation. Solar thermal
water heating systems, which use the sun's energy rather than
electricity or gas to heat water, can efficiently provide 50
to 90% of your hot water needs—without fuel cost or pollution
and with minimal operation and maintenance expense.
TROPICAL AND TEMPERATE SYSTEMS: You may be able to use your
existing electric water heater for the Skyline3 open loop, or
you can add a water heater for solar storage to your existing
You need at least 1 gallon of storage for each square foot of
collector area. It is desirable that your storage tank be at
least 50 gallons of storage for up to 30 square feet of collector
area, although a 40 gallon water heater can work well with up
to 30 square feet of collector area. Generally, the larger the
water heater the better, up to 2.5 gallons per square foot of
collector area in sunny areas. An 80 gallon “top connect” solar
tank is recommended for 40 s/for 60 s/f systems and 120 gallons
for 60 and 80 s/f systems.
FREEZE PROTECTED SYSTEMS: Skyline5
systems use the excellent Rheem / Rudd, Richmond, SunEarth
(or other private label all the same manufacturer) 80 or 120
Gallon Storage tank with a very efficient copper "wrap around" heat
Building Codes, Covenants and Regulations for Solar Heating
Before installing a solar energy system, you should investigate
local building codes, zoning ordinances, and subdivision covenants,
as well as any special regulations pertaining to the site. You
will probably need a building permit to install a solar energy
system onto an existing building. Due to the light weight of Skyline® systems, structural is not usually an issue.
Installing Your Solar Heating System
Hundreds of handy homeowners have installed Skyline® solar water
heaters. With many color pictures and clear directions, the SolarRoofs.com installation
manual may be the best in the industry. Also see our complete
installation Video section.
There are generally 4 ways to get your system installed:
1) The homeowner installs the entire system by themselves
or with a helper by reading the installation manual and
watching the installation Videos.
2) If adding a tank, the homeowner has a plumber set the tank
which requires some soldering and then the homeowner does the
no solder solar loop installation themselves.
3) The homeowner has a plumber set the tank and then a handyman
reads the manual and installs the solar loop (often the homeowner
helps the handyman).
4) A professional solar contractor installs the system. Professionals
usually charge anywhere from $1,800.00 to $3,000.00 to install
as they have to cover costs such as workers compensation, labor,
insurance and warranty.
Maintaining Your Solar Heating System
Very little maintenance is needed for Skyline® systems and collectors.
When there is no rain for a long period of time it is good to
rinse your collectors with water to get the dust off. Please
see Operations and Maintenance manuals.
Most solar water heaters are automatically covered under your
homeowner's insurance policy. However, damage from freezing is
generally not. Contact your insurance provider to find out the
policy. Even if your provider will cover your system, it is best
to inform them in writing that you own a new system.