The Florida Solar Energy Center Logo
 
 
 
Home > Research > Photovoltaics > Virgin Islands Energy Office > Solar Hot Water Systems - St. Croix

Stylized Text: VIEO: Solar Hot Water Systems - St. Croix.

As part of the US Virgin Island Energy Office (http://www.vienergy.org/) solar water heating program, the following systems were installed on the island of St. Thomas in March and April 2002. The system were installed by West Indies Solar (http://www.westindiessolair.com/). Other specifics on the systems cane be acquired from the Site Listings web site.

1. Dikovics

The system installed at this site uses solar energy to power a direct current (dc) pump using a photovoltaic (PV) panel. The PV panel converts sunlight into electricity, which in turn drives the dc pump. In this way, water flows through the collector only when the sun is shining. The dc pump and PV panel are suitably matched to ensure proper system performance. The pump starts when there is sufficient solar radiation available to heat the solar collector. It shuts off later in the day when the available solar energy diminishes.

Picture of a solar thermal collector on a roof.

2. Sponagle

The system installed at this site also uses solar energy to power a direct current (dc) pump using a photovoltaic (PV) panel. The PV panel converts sunlight into electricity, which in turn drives the dc pump. In this way, water flows through the collector only when the sun is shining. The dc pump and PV panel are suitably matched to ensure proper system performance. The pump starts when there is sufficient solar radiation available to heat the solar collector. It shuts off later in the day when the available solar energy diminishes.

Picture of solar thermal collector.

3. Mount Victory Ecological Campground

Two solar water heating systems are displayed at this site. Each provides hot water to separate male and female shower facilities at the Mount Victory Ecological Campground. They are both similar to the systems described above - PV controlled direct systems. The tank on these two systems will not included electrical backup.

Pciture of a small home.

4. Thomas

This site uses what is referred to as a 50-gallon Integral Collector Storage (ICS) System. In the integral collector storage solar system , the hot water storage system is the collector. Cold water flows progressively through the collector where it is heated by the sun. Hot water is drawn from the top, which is the hottest, and replacement water flows into the bottom. This system is simple because pumps and controllers are not required. On demand, cold water from the house flows into the collector and hot water from the collector flows to a standard hot water auxiliary tank within the house.

Picture of a solar thermal collector.

5. Seventh-Day Adventist School Kitchen

The thermosiphon solar system at this site provides hot water to the school's kitchen. As the sun shines on the solar collector, the water inside the collector flow tubes is heated. As it heats, this water expands slightly and becomes lighter than the cold water in the solar storage tank mounted above the collector. Gravity then pulls heavier, cold water down from the tank and into the collector inlet. The cold water pushes the heated water through the collector outlet and into the top of the tank, thus heating the water in the tank. A thermosiphon system requires neither pump nor controller. Inlet cold water flows directly to the tank on the roof. Solar heated water flows from the rooftop tank to the auxiliary tank installed at ground level whenever water is used within the residence.

The system installed at this site has been configured so that the solar system provides all the heated water. The cold inlet water goes directly to the thermosiphon system, and from the thermosiphon system goes directly to the sinks.

Picture of a solar thermal collector.