Solar thermal technology developer Sunnovations has launched its Ohm residential solar hot water monitoring system. Ohm is the first system that can measure both solar and backup energy inputs as well as hot water energy usage, allowing solar hot water system owners to make smarter use of their solar-heated water.
The Ohm system is designed to provide homeowners with Web-enabled monitoring for unprecedented insight into their solar thermal system’s performance. Ohm is available for pre-order on Sunnovations’ website at a cost the company estimates to be less than half of the retail cost of systems with comparable features.
“Homeowners have not had a cost-effective way to monitor performance of their solar hot water system,” said Sunnovations Chief Executive Officer Matt Carlson in a release. “They simply have had to take a leap of faith that their system is working as designed. With Ohm’s easy installation and applicability to most solar hot water system types, we believe this product is a game changer for the residential solar water heating category.”
The current technology paradigm in solar hot water monitoring is to measure the flow rate in the “solar loop” and extrapolate that rate into a measurement of solar energy put into the hot water tank. This approach is both inexact - it provides only an indirect measurement of energy input - and expensive, as flow meters are costly and time consuming to install. The Ohm system eliminates the flow meter and instead uses a patent-pending in-tank sensor to directly measure the energy in the hot water tank.
Ohm will also soon be available through leading solar hot water installers throughout North America. Dave Hollister, CEO of Sundance Power Systems, an alternative energy firm based in Weaverville, NC, said: “Solar thermal has been waiting for a monitoring system like Ohm, and Sundance is excited to start recommending it to our customers. We see tremendous potential for this product.”
Independent accuracy validation on the Ohm system is being conducted by solar industry testing leader TÜV Rheinland in Tempe, AZ. Preliminary test results indicate a system accuracy of greater than 98 percent with a full report to be issued soon.