About the best you can expect is to be able to preheat the water somewhat before it goes to your boiler. It's expensive, because the water in the collectors has to be kept from freezing. My guess is that it's going to be impossible in any kind of economical way. Then there's snow, which pretty much messes up solar power unless you get up on the roof and clear it.
Check with a solar outfit in your area. Ask them what can be done and how much it would cost. Only someone in your area will have the correct information. It's complicated in cold-winter areas.
7. Well, they don't send water up to the roof in colder areas, but rather they
use food grade anti-freeze in the tubes. But still, how do you get it warm enough in the winter?
I wonder if adding a PV panel or two and electric hot water on demand system in series would do the trick? That way I'd still get the benefit of the preheated water, although how warm it would be in February I am not sure.
If used for potable purposes, to prevent bacterial infection tanks should be maintained at 60C and then downmixed to 49C to prevent scalding. Assuming a -10C outdoor temp to get 60C in Maine you are looking at evacuated tube panels unless you are just preheating or don't care about firing up a secondary heater for a few weeks in January -- and depending on your water usage you'll need a lot of panels to ride out the winter without a backup heat source.
However, for baseboard heating alone without potable use, you may not need to maintain 60C. You just need to figure out your energy budget.
13. I'm not sure. PV panels don't generally produce a lot of wattage,
and heating water takes a lot. Again, the cost would make the savings not cost-effective, I'm sure. Solar is marginal, anyhow, in terms of cost-effectiveness and payback time. In northern latitudes the low angle of the sun in the sky in the cold months further cuts down on efficiency for PV and thermal collectors.
A far better idea in the North is extreme insulation and elimination of as many heat losses as possible, which minimizes heating costs and the like, along with conversion to high-efficiency lighting, etc. It's possible to cut your energy bills dramatically with those measures, and they're completely passive, so they don't wear out with age. You'll get far more for your dollar with such techniques than with any sort of active solar system.
17. We're doing a modular so the insulation is out of my control. :^( These are the specs
INSULATION: R-38 Cellulose Ceiling Insulation R-38 Cellulose Ceiling Insulation to knee walls with R-30 between decking on Rafter Roofs R-30 Insulation Between Kneewalls Standard on Maine Houses Only R-19 Exterior Wall Insulation (Kraft Faced) R-11 Basement Stair wall Insulation
If I had a zillion dollars I think I would do a SIP house instead, with all the green things I could possibly do to it. (Maybe in my next life! )
A lot of people around here use it, although the initial installation is rather expensive. You use ground water to heat the place up to about 50 F in the winter & then use the same system to cool it in the summer. I imagine our winters are a little colder than yours, with no moderating sea currents.
An extra bennie is if the boiler also produces your hot water. Plumbing a solar hot water system into it to augment the boiler in winter will save on heating costs, but the real savings will occur in summer when it supplies nearly all the hot water you need, with the boiler only coming on early in the morning most days.
You'd have to get bids on the job and run the numbers to get your own payback period, but it can be done with a hot water system best of all.
18. Talk to a certified solar contractor - evacuated tube solar hot water heaters work well in Maine
I know several folks that use them for heat in Maine - but you need a fairly larger array (probably ground-mounted) and storage tanks . My friends use radiant floor heating (and large insulated milk containers from a local dairy for storage) rather than standard baseboard, but there's no reason why you couldn't use basebord radiators.
The Maine Solar House has been using solar hot water panels for heat for many years.
Efficiency Maine has some good deals on solar financing too...
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