Off Grid Solar Thermal


Solar thermal is an excellent and well proven technology for heating water using the power of the sun. It can work just as well in off grid situations as it can in a grid connected property and here's how...


For our first example we'll look at an off the shelf solar thermal system that you could buy as a kit through our shop. These systems use mains electricity for the controller and the pump, so if you are off grid then you need to meet these supply requirements. If you use an inverter charger then you have a 230V supply anyway. In this case no modifications are required, it may be a good idea to run the solar thermal on one of the 'priority circuits' though in order to prevent over heating problems if power were cut to the pump suddenly.


If you have a more remote off grid situation such as a small shower block on a camp site you may be running a low voltage system for lighting. A quick fix solution here would be to buy a cheap inverter designed to run off a car 12V socket - you would only need a maximum of 100Watts for the pump and 12Watts for the controls.


But there is a more efficient way of doing things especially if the remote shower block does not have much battery storage capacity. You can mount a small 12V solar panel next to the solar thermal collector this can run a 12V rated solar thermal controller and charge a small battery. Some form of energy storage will be required to meet the demands of the pump over its duty cycle. Replace the 230V standard pump with a 12V one and you have completed the conversion to low voltage stand alone solar thermal. You could even replace the battery with super capacitors if you wanted to.

These kits will soon be available on our online shop but please get in touch if you would like us to put together a quote for your particular application

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