Installation of the Solar Hot Water Heating System

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Uncategorized

Installation of the Solar Hot Water Heating System

by Allen Brooks, March 29-31, 2002

The NC Maritime Museum’s Cape Lookout Studies program is proud to announce the donation of a “state-of-the-art” solar water heating system, including installation, from the NC Solar Center, North Carolina State University.

Their web site address is Shawn Fitzpatrick – Solar Engineering Specialist, Kurt Creamer – Solar Engineering Specialist, and Christine Maurer – Graduate Research Assistant, of the NC Solar Center installed the solar hot water system at Cape Lookout over the Easter Weekend. The crew worked hard and late into the night returning to Raleigh at 5 AM Easter Sunday Morning. We really appreciate this donation and hard work and look forward to showing it off to our participants this summer. This donation will result in a major decrease in the use of fossil fuel at the field station for hot water. Assisting in the installation were NC Maritime Museum Volunteers Hugh Wilde, Ralph Merrill, Tabbie Merrill, and Allen Brooks. We are also grateful for support toward this project from Cyndy Mann, Steve Hassenfelt, Roger Mays, and Ranny + Lillie Pearce.

photo001Unloading the solar hot water heater equipment at the field station.

photo002Work begins with a planning session led by Shawn. Shawn was Keith’s initial contact with the NC Solar Center. Shawn decided to donate a solar water heating system after viewing our web site. Sam Bryan is our volunteer Webmaster who provides the site. Thanks Sam!

photo003Christine helping to run copper water pipes into the basement.

photo004Kurt installing fittings on the solar hot water storage tank. The water in this tank circulates through the solar collectors when the sun is out. Hot water from this tank will feed into the existing hot water heater on the left.

photo005Hugh and Ralph begin construction on the solar collectors support frame that will eventually hold 3 solar water collectors.

photo006Hugh and Ralph measuring to make sure the support frame will be square.

photo007Tabbie making sure Ralph doesn’t get sunburned. Tabbie took care of the kitchen and kept us all well fed. She even cleaned the bathroom. Thanks Tabbie!

photo008Christine taking a turn on the posthole diggers. Thanks Christine!

photo009Shawn and Kurt cut a support block for the Solar Side-Bar assembly.

photo010Kurt, Shawn, Ralph, Christine, and Hugh install the first solar water collector.

photo011The moment of truth, is it square? It was. Thanks Ralph and Hugh!

photo012Kurt putting his back into it. Thanks Kurt!

photo013Shawn giving a demo on soldering copper pipe. None of this would have been possible without Shawn. We look forward to hosting alternative energy seminars with the NC Solar Center. Again their web site address is Thanks Shawn!

photo0014The solar hot storage tank with Solar Sidebar assembly.

photo015The Solar Sidebar assembly. Located on bottom left is a small solar pump that circulates water from the solar storage tank through the solar collectors and back to the tank. On the top left is a readout of the temperature of the water in the tank and the water returning from the solar collectors. In the middle is a flow gauge to monitor the flow of water through the tank.

photo016The solar storage tank connected to the cold-water input of the existing gas water heater.

photo017The Solar Photovoltaic panel that powers the circulation pump. The Solar Photovoltaic panel also controls a thermostatic valve that allows circulation through the collectors when the sun is out and allows the system to drain at night.

photo018The completed solar collector installation. Water from the solar storage tank enters the bottom of each collector. Water from the top of each collector returns to the storage tank. At the top right is an air vent. Each collector has a volume of 0.8 gallons.

photo019This is a great addition to the alternative energy systems at the NC Maritime Museum’s Cape Lookout Field Station. All of the electricity used at the Field Station is provided by alternative energy systems. In the front are the solar photovoltaic panels that help provide the electricity at the Field Station. A wind generator provides the rest.

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Tursiops truncatus is the scientific name for the common bottlenose dolphin. Tursiops is also the user name shared by volunteers who contribute to this blog. If you have an idea for a blog post, or think we should comment on an article you've found, click the contact button above and drop us a line!

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