Everyone is used to solar hot water systems with collectors on the roof. Imagine a solar hot water system with NOTHING on the roof, and that operates 24 hours a day...
Thinking 'outside the square' is a major driver of innovation.
Unfortunately, when we think of solar hot water systems, we tend to think 'inside the square'. Of course, we are going to collect the radiant heat from the sun. We'll maxinmize the angle of the collector, we'll improve collector design, perhaps by developing evacuated tubes to replace flat collector panels. But always, we're collecting the radiant heat of the sun. How can we think 'outside the square' here?
According to John Payne, Founder of Australia's Enviro-Friendly Products, the answer is in millions of homes all around the world. "Everyone understands what a reverse-cycle air conditioner does. It's a heat pump. It takes the heat from the atmosphers, and pumps it into the house in the form of heated air. Quantum Energies in Australia have taken this heat pump principle, and applied it to water heating. The sun heats the air; the Quantum harvests the heat to produce hot water."
The result is a solar hot water system that works 24/7/365. At midnight, in mid-winter, in the dark, on the wrong side of a house, the Quantum heat pump solar hot water system is producing hot water. The initial cost and running cost is comparable to standard solar systems, but because there's nothing to go on the roof, installation costs are less, and no special strengthening of the roof is necessary.
That's thinking 'ouside the square'- a 'Night'n'Day' solar hot water system that goes topless!