GE Ecomagination: Sunnovations Solar Hot Water

This green tech been around for a long time, but the Sunnovations believes it has created “a revolution in solar hot water.” Why? Because it uses the basic principles of physics–rather than a lot of moving parts–to move the heat from the sun to the water in your hot water tank.

This system–an entrant in GE’s Ecomagination Challenge this year–makes use of a patented passive pump technology, which Sunnovations says makes solar hot water systems less expensive, easier to install, more reliable and maintenance–free.

Sunnovations solar hot water

image via Sunnovations

How does all this work? The sun hits the roof-mounted solar panels, which contain a freeze-proof heat transfer fluid that heats up in very little sunlight. This fluid is then forced, via a geyser pump (the company says “think of Old Faithful”) into a water storage tank in your utility room, by virtue of its own heat.

From here, a heat exchanger in your water storage tank takes the heat from the transfer fluid and uses it to warm up your water (“like a double-boiler on your stove”). A backup heating element in the tank ensures you have access to hot water 24/7, and the entire system works with no electric pumps, controls or sensors.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.