solar water heaters – Stiebel Eltron, 2017

Stiebel Eltron SBB Plus solar water heating systems feature dual heat exchanges and a capacity ranging from around 80 gallons to just over 162 gallons, with a working pressure of 150 psi across all models.

SBB Plus solar water heaters come in three models: the 300, 400 and 600. Water pressure, maximum temperatures and overall design are the same for all three models. This means that you can enjoy the same results from each heater, regardless of the size you choose. The 300 features 80.6 gallons of storage capacity with upper heater exchange volume of 1.9 gallons. It’s the smallest of the three units, making it a good choice for homes with limited space or for installation in condos or apartments.

The SBB Plus 400 offers 108.6 gallons of capacity with an upper heater exchange volume of 2.2 gallons. The 600 model features an impressive 162.9 gallons of total capacity and a capacity of 2.5 gallons for upper heater exchange. While the 600 is bigger overall, it is shorter than the 400 model, which is slimmer. The design of your home’s hot water heater storage area may factor into a decision between the 400 and 600.

Certification is a big benefit when it comes to most SBB solar water heating products as you can rely on the heater working to industry standards. The company’s tanks are ETL certified for both the United States and Canada. They are also ISO 9001 certified and have been granted the OG-300 certification from the SRCC. These multiple certifications are a recognition of quality and lend confidence to your purchase.

Roof panels generally power solar water heaters, but the SBB dual heat exchange models feature two coils. The upper coil is usually connected to a heating source derived from any desired fuel, and the lower coils are typically connected to solar panels. The dual setup provides alternative heating when solar panels alone are not enough to drive desired performance levels.

SBB offers a few other solar-powered water heater options, including a line of single heat exchange models that may be more affordable than the Plus models. The single heat exchange line is also smaller than the Plus line, offering solutions that may be more viable in tight spaces.

With multiple certifications and generous warranties, SBB sun-powered water heaters are a good choice for homeowners who are looking for a traditional water heater design. Solar heating does require connection to panels, so you’ll need a good roof or other location for capturing sunlight to enjoy optimal use.