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Corner section of a solar themal collector

Made
This is a sectioned piece of solar collector panel made by the Perth-based firm, Solahart Industries Pty Ltd of Australia. The company is said to be the world's leading manufacturer of solar hot water systems for residential and commercial applications. With world attention focused on the increasing shortage of fossil fuels for energy needs, there is enormous interest from government, corporations and individuals in playing a part in expanding the solar energy industry. Solahart claims that the electricity saved by a family of four, using a Solahart solar hot water system, can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air by more than 3 tonnes per year.

The idea of using solar energy for water heating has been around for a long time. Commercial systems were available in the late nineteenth century. Advances by the CSIRO in the 1950s (led by Roger Morse and Wal Read) made Australian systems about 20 percent more efficient than other solar hot water systems. The Korwill solar hot water system was adopted by the Solahart firm in 1953. It operates on the 'thermosyphon' principle where water passes through the solar collector panels and, after being heated by solar radiation, rises to the insulated storage cylinder.

The Solahart solar collector panel corner is from a model known as the 'Black Chrome Miracle' as it incorporates a range of innovative product features which combine to form what is claimed by the manufacturers to be one of the world's best performing and most reliable and cost effective solar water heaters. The multi-flow black chrome model can operate effectively in areas previously regarded as marginal for solar power. The collector and tank are sealed in a closed circuit system to protect against freezing and corrosion as well as clogging which can occur in conventional systems in hard water areas.

The Solahart company had its beginnings in Perth, Western Australia, in 1901 when two plumbers formed a company known as S W Hart & Co, Plumbers and Ironworkers. They commenced business in galvanising and sheet metal fabrication, manufacturing tanks, baths, sinks, tubs and buckets. In 1935 Hart became a corporation and continued as S W Hart & Co Pty Ltd, adding manufacture of water heaters to its operations. The company sold its first solar systems in 1953. Today the firm employs over 12,000 people world-wide while the Western Australian plant at Welshpool covers 12 acres and includes the factory, state sales, national warehouse, and research and development facilities. The manufacturing process involves fabrication of metal products through a combination of stages including pressing, welding, shot blasting, enamelling, plating, testing and packaging.

Since 1978 dealers appointed by Solahart have installed Solahart products in over 70 countries. An export dedications award and an export enterprise award have been presented to Solahart by Government bodies within Australia.

Margaret Simpson
Assistant Curator, Transport
March 2001

Summary

Object No.

2001/60/1

Object Statement

Solar collector section, corner of a solar hot water panel, 'Model K series', glass / metal / plastic, Solahart Industries Pty Ltd, Australia, 2000-2001

Physical Description

A sectioned corner piece, triangular in shape, of a solar collector panel used in the model K series of Solahart hot water systems. Part of a header is present, along with parts of some of the 35 risers. The top surface of these tubes has been plated with nickel, then bathed in chromic acid to form a 'black chrome' surface with high absorbance and low emittance of heat. This is covered with low-iron (high transmittance) tempered glass and backed with polyester insulation on an aluminium tray. The collector is designed to have glycol (non-corrosive anti-freeze) rather than water flowing through it, making it suitable for areas that have brackish water or are prone to frosts.

Production

Notes

Solahart is said to be the world's leading manufacturer of solar hot water systems for residential and commercial applications. By 1953 S.W. Hart were manufacturing storage cylinders for the West Australian-made F.C. Korwill solar collector. In that year Hart acquired the Korwill Corporation and subsequently went on to make its first solar hot water system. Although a novelty at the time, the system captured the imagination of a small market and became a consistent seller. The Korwill solar hot water system operated on the 'thermosyphon' principal where water passes through the solar collector panels and, after being heated by solar radiation, rises to the insulated storage cylinder.

At this time solar energy assumed an increasingly important role in the company's future and a sophisticated research and development program was established. Marketing divisions began taking a world approach and production techniques automated and expanded.

In the mid-1970s Solahart invested substantial capital in the plant associated with producing a mild steel, vitreous enamel lined tank for its solar water heater, the 240L which provided a competitive advantage over the conventional copper, bronze and stainless steel tanks at the time. The new tank overcame the disadvantages of corrosion and the ability to withstand the higher temperatures associated with solar hot water systems. This was followed by the 300L and the 300LJ, a revolutionary new closed-circuit, close-coupled, thermosiphon model which was subsequently patented. In 1980 Solahart commercialised the 300LJ and added capital investment which led to the current 320J and 302K series models.

The latter model, 302K known was the Multi-Flow Black Chrome model, is featured in this acquisition. This model of solar hot water heater can operate effectively in areas previously regarded as marginal for solar power. Solahart's heat transfer design incorporates the multi-flow, black chrome collector sealed in a closed circuit system to protect against freezing and corrosion as well as clogging, which can occur in conventional systems in hard water areas.

The Solahart firm has established its own research and development department which monitors and tests its units under all weather conditions, all year round. The closed circuit solar hot water systems developed by the firm have been successful in countries like Korea where temperature variation can range from 35 degrees Celsius to minus 30 degrees. No other unit has been able to cope with such extremes.

Depending on usage and location, solar energy can save up to 80% of the hot water costs for a family of four. On a commercial level solar powered heating, cooling and industrial plants are receiving critical acceptance in many countries.



The Solahart company had its beginnings in Perth, WA, in 1901 when two plumbers formed a company known as S W Hart & Co, Plumbers and Ironworkers. They commenced business in galvanising and sheet metal fabrication, manufacturing tanks, baths, sinks tubs and buckets. In 1935 Hart became a corporation and business continued as S W Hart & Co. Pty Ltd, and added manufacturing water heaters to its operations. In 1953 the company sold its first solar hot water systems. These were made on the Korwill system.

In 1964 the firm became a public company and was listed on the Perth Stock Exchange. The range of products included refrigeration, hospital equipment, sheet metal fabrication kitchen and hotel equipment, air conditioning, ventilation, engineering supplies, ducting and water heaters. Hart water heaters used a variety of energy sources including oil, gas, electric and solid fuel. In 1964 Hart designed, manufactured and installed two of the largest solar hot water systems at that time in the Southern Hemisphere, in the Exmouth area in Australia's northwest, providing hot water for up to 140 people. These demonstrated that solar hot water was a viable alternative for both domestic and commercial applications

By the early 1970s the Hart company had endured a series of takeovers which shattered employee morale. In 1973 the employees purchased the company and in their first full year of operation sales of Solahart solar hot water systems increased by over 160%. In 1979 Shell Australian acquired from the employees a 50% shareholding and in 1984 the James Hardie Industry Group, one of Australia's largest companies, acquired the remaining 50% from the employees. James Hardie Industries Limited then acquired the remainder of Shell's share in 1987 and changed the firm's name from S W Hart & Co to Hardie Energy Products. In October 1994 the Solahart firm was acquired by the Malaysian group Johan Holdings and the name changed again to Solahart Industries Pty. In September 1998 Southcorp Limited, a diversified company which owns other water heater firms including Rheem and American Water Heater as well as the wine-producing firms, Penfolds and Lindemans, took over the firm.

Solahart is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and employs over 12,000 people world-wide. It continues to manufacture in Western Australia, in a plant covering 12 acres of industrial land at Welshpool. The site accommodates the factory, state sales, the national warehouse, and research and development facilities. The manufacturing process involves fabrication of metal products through a combination of stages including pressing, welding, shot blasting, enamelling, plating, testing and packaging.

History

Notes

Since 1978 dealers appointed by Solahart have installed Solahart products in over 70 countries around the world. Their hot water systems are frequently seen in countries such as Japan, Korea, Middle Eastern Countries, Spain, France, Belgium, Italy, the Pacific Islands and South East Asia. With world-attention focused on the increasing shortage of fossil fuels for energy needs, there is an enormous interest from government, corporations and individuals to play a part in expanding the solar energy industry. An export dedications award and an export enterprise award have been presented to Solahart by Government bodies within Australia.

Solarhart claim that the electricity save by a family of four, using a Solahart solar hot water system, can reduce the amount of CO2 released into the air by more than 3 tonnes per year.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Sydney Solahart, 2001

Acquisition Date

24 July 2001

Cite this Object

Harvard

Corner section of a solar themal collector 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 September 2020, <https://ma.as/10260>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/10260 |title=Corner section of a solar themal collector |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 September 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.