The "Gentle" Electric Company • 499 Marlboro Rd • Brattleboro, VT

(802) 280-7319 •

Solar Hot Water

While many people are captivated by the high-tech nature of solar-electric systems, in most cases, a solar hot water (SWH) system will harvest more energy at a substantially lower cost. This proven and reliable technology offers long-term performance with low maintenance. Also, with federal, state, and utility incentives available, these systems offer a quick payback. A well designed SHW system could provide all, or at least a significant amount, of your household hot water needs for some portion of the year. To get the most for your money, you´ll want a properly sized system that offers the best performance in your climate.


Solar hot water systems consist of three major components: the solar collectors (panels), a storage tank and a circulation system. Collectors for solar water heating come in two main types—flat plate and evacuated tube collectors. Flat plate collectors are composed of an insulated aluminum box with a tempered glass front. Behind the glass is a flat black absorber plate connected to a grid of copper pipes. Evacuated tube collectors use a row of sealed glass tubes, with each tube containing an absorber plate to soak up the solar energy. Insulated pipes connect the collectors to a liquid-to liquid heat exchanger which is plumbed to the solar storage tank. This tank, which is usually slightly larger than that of a traditional water heater, stores the solar-heated water and supplies it to your existing water heater.