I have been searching on craigslist for a hot water solar system for some time. A month or so ago, I went to look at one that was $800 for three panels, a control system and tank that all needed to be removed and another buyer arrived just as I was leaving so I passed on it. My original thought was to add collectors to the boiler system but after I bought the spa, it seemed like that would be a good application to counteract the cost of keeping the spa water warm.
The system was all the way on the south side of Denver but the owner said make an offer–so I did. For $200 and the disassembly, I bought two Novan solar collectors that have damaged in and out connections because of stupid roofers, a heat exchanger “optimizer” and a storage tank.
These are the photos on the craigslist ad. There are two collectors.
The heat exchanger is copper mounted to a board with two pumps that probably don’t work anymore, a differential controller, and various plumbing drains and connections.
The tank has a tag that says it is electric, but there is no electrical connection so it appears that it was just a storage tank. It is a 66 gallon 1981 Conservationist, a line still made by A.O. Smith.
I was able to find some information about the Novan systems which were manufactured in Boulder, Colorado until about 1985 when the tax incentives of the time dried up. They were exceptionally well built collectors and the system used Bray oil a currently unavailable thermal transfer fluid that was only used in the Novan systems. The owner captured some of the Bray oil but it will surprising if enough was captured to refill the system so we will have to flush the panels and the collectors and use a glycol mixture.
The collectors will need to be rebuilt due to the smashed connecting pipes. But the collector is put together with screws and bolts so it should not be too difficult to dissasemble and reconnect pipe to the interior collector. I’m excited about the system and the information I found regarding these high quality components. Novan is one of the most sought after brands for hot water solar panel restoration.