Hot water generation for commercial applications is the ideal application for a solar thermal system. In commercial systems with uniform consumption, solar pre-heating systems can be a financially viable option. Buildings with existing hot water storage tanks are suitable for retrofitting. The solar pre-heating stage and the standby hot water stage can be easily integrated. The solar pre-heating stage and the standby hot water storage tank can be sized separately. The temperature set point for the standby storage tank is at least 140°F (60°C). Solar heating must be enabled up to 170°F (75°C) so that the solar heating system can utilize the entire storage tank volume. The solar thermal controls engage a re-load pump for transferring water between the two storage tanks if the pre-heating storage tank is hotter than the standby storage tank. This means that both storage tanks are heated above the set temperature, and the heat loss due to hot water re-circulation can also be covered by solar energy.
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