Gates

Tax Incentives

Federal 30% Tax Credit Available with the purchase of these systems.

Not all solar relates to electricity. In fact, here is a considerable movement in utilizing passive solar gain to heat air and water. If the average solar electric module is about 12% efficient at turning sunlight into electricity, consider that a solar thermal collector can be as much as 80% efficient. Heating water is one of the most practical uses of the sun’s energy, and in Helena, MT ultimately it can be very economical. Utilizing various sizing tools we can accurately estimate pay back times, and your solar thermal fraction (the amount of hot water expected to come from the sun). We calculate most of our systems will pay for themselves in less than ten years.

Flat plate collectors are utilized in all of our system installations. They are less prone to failure than Evacuated tube collectors, have a 30 year life expectancy, and ten year warranties.

Indirect Pressurized Systems

In Montana, due to periodically freezing conditions we install indirect pressurized systems. The indirect pressurized system is a type of Residential Solar Hot Water System referred to as “indirect” because the sun, through a roof–mounted collector, heats fluid circulating in a closed–off solar loop which never comes in direct contact with usable water stored in an insulated tank.

Indirect Pressurized System Features:

  • Accommodates climates where freezing weather occurs more frequently.
  • A Differential Control senses temperature differences between water leaving the collector and the coldest water in the bottom of the storage tank. When the temperature of the water in the collector is hotter than the water in the tank, the differential control operates the circulating pump.
  • A heat exchanger is located within the storage tank to maximize the heat transfer from the antifreeze solution to the coldest water in the storage tank.
  • A small photovoltaic solar panel option (which generates electricity from the sun) is available to operate the circulation pump, further reducing traditional energy consumption.

Drainback System

When possible we will install drainback systems. The Drainback Series is an indirect system. It is referred to as “indirect” because the sun, through a roof–mounted collector, heats fluid circulating in a closed–off solar loop which never comes in direct contact with usable water stored in an insulated tank.

Drainback System Features:

  • Removes all water from the collectors, and their pipelines to ensure they never freeze when the system is not producing heat (drain mode). Each time the pump shuts off, the water in the collector(s) and piping, which are mounted at a slight angle, drains into the insulated reservoir tank.
  • A sight glass attached to the reservoir tank indicates that the collector(s) has been completely drained.
  • A Differential Control senses temperature differences between water leaving the collector and the coldest water in the bottom of the storage tank. When the temperature of the water in the collector is hotter than the water in the tank, the differential control operates the circulating pump.
  • Less moving parts allows for fewer maintenance concerns.