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.
Assistant Curator, Transport