Solar heating systems are generally composed of solar thermal collectors, a fluid system to move the heat from the collector to its point of usage, and a reservoir to stock the heat for subsequent use. The heat can also be used for industrial applications or as an energy input for other uses such as cooling equipment. In many climates, a solar heating system can provide a very high percentage (50 to 75%) of the cost of your monthly bill.
Residential solar thermal installations can be subdivided in two kinds of systems: “PASSIVE” and “ACTIVE” systems. Both typically include an auxiliary energy source (electric heating element or a natural gas, or propane auxiliary source) that is activated when the water in the tank falls below a minimum temperature setting.