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solar practical for my application?

Osborn Member Posts: 31
I am renovating a to-be-well-insulated 6 unit building, 4 apt above, 2 stores below in Jersey City, NJ and looking at heating options.  I am planning to provide h20 heat for the 4 apartments (separate hvac for the stores). 

Initially I wanted to integrate solar into the equation.  I'm beginning to lean away from that and toward a central mod con boiler / dhw indirect, heating some kind of baseboard or rad system in the 2nd/3rd floor apts.

A solar installer proposed a six unit collector array (about 20K),  but his own website calculates that I'd only be saving about 650 per year on dhw.   Without oversizing the system,  he states I could offset 10-15% of my total heating, which could bring me to about $1300 per year annual savings. 

Radiant floor is impractical for me;  I'm not aware of the feasibility of other low temp radiant such as wall panels or low temp rads.  Budget is a concern.

Any thoughts about whether solar could be a serious contribution to my heating situation?


  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,835

    you need to crunch the numbers based on how much energy you currently use to cover then DHW load and heating. Then factor the cost of that energy and how much the price might increase over the next 20-30 years, which is the life expectancy of a good collector array.

    There are a number of software programs that you can use to run different "what if" calcuations. www.retscreen.net is a free solar calculator program. Sounds like you contractor has probably run some numbers on a solar program? It's the best place to start.

    I believe NJ has some pretty good rebate incentives, along with the Federal 30%. You may find 50%b of the cost is covered by various Federal, state. local or utility monies. That makes the math work a lot better.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
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