American Solar Network
Product Description

When people speak of solar energy they are usually referring to one of two technologies: Either photovoltaics, which converts the sun's rays into electricity; or solar thermal, which converts sunshine into heat. Whereas photovoltaics involves the use of exotic materials. solar thermal uses very simple technology.

Designed to intervene between city cold water supply and the existing conventional water heater, the ASN system feeds preheated water into the existing gas or electric or other "backup" unit and in essence keeps the thermostat from firing, thus cutting down on consumption of high-cost energy. The existing hot water heater acts as a "backup" to the solar system and automatically makes up the temperature difference when needed.

Unfortunately, many conventional solar thermal systems are overly complicated and burdened with expensive and heavy materials. The strength of the ASN system is in its simplicity, use of lower cost, light weight materials and the fact that it incorporates the most elegant freeze-proof solar thermal design.

Solar "SKYLITE " Collector Series for Freeze Climates:

The key to this systems simplicity and cost reduction is a device that stems from Al Rich's patent which is a small L-Shaped manifold valve, measuring about 10 inches wide. The patented valve in conjunction with the use of an extruded tube EPDM elastomer rubber called "SolaRoll" in the collector and the use of special plastic tubing for the connector lines allow for:

is aided by substituting EPDM rubber for the copper absorber plate. Also eliminated are pounds of hardware which were used to attach the panels of traditional water heaters to the roof as well as replacing the heavy glass glazing with Lexan.
The average ASN system can be installed in less than six hours by two people thus saving expensive labor time. Safety is increased and liability risk is decreased with the ASN system.
by replacing it with less expensive rubber and plastic materials. Tremendous reductions in cost will be realized with ASN's ERIP developed storage system which is specifically designed to address utility needs.
which are a major concern of homeowners and architects, is dramatically improved with the ASN systems. The new design allows the heater to lie directly on the surface of a roof for a flush attractive mounting, giving the illusion of a beautiful "open roof" skylight.

Failures of previous attempts to use low-cost and lightweight materials can categorically be attributed to lack of field experience, poor design, and failures to consider the nature and physical properties of the materials. Temperatures which are above those needed for domestic hot water are the enemy of plastic and rubber. To assure long life, temperatures are automatically limited in the ASN system by Al Rich's Patented passive venting system so that plastic and rubber materials remain in their "comfort zone". This venting system allows these materials to reach their full life expectancy which is in excess of 20 years. Low cost rebuilds after 20 years will allow the ASN system to be in operation indefinitely while providing an outstanding Benefit to Cost (B/C) ratio. National Awards are testament to the correctness of this strategy.

A new generation of ASN freeze proof systems combine the storage tank with the drainback tank and use a load side heat exchanger. The $100,000 ERIP grant was used, in part, to refine this design.

"Islander", PV Powered Systems for Non-Freeze Climates:

This lightweight, Attractive system with unbreakable glazing and absorber is a powerful performer and is fully vented to protect against high temperatures. It is run by a state of the art electronic pump powered by a Photovoltaic panel. A compact "Bottom Connect" valve pack with pump is easily installed in place of the 3/4" bottom drain on a standard water heater.

List of "Islander" Features:


The current ASN dual product line is appropriate for a wider range of applications than most other product lines currently available. ASN's technology can be easily modified to fit various specific market needs and is now poised to expand and move into other parts of the world.

Do-ItYourself Systems:

A great U.S. and even greater International opportunity exists with the large DoItYourself solar for under $1,000 (retail) group. Modifications to current products have the potential of great appeal to this large group. Some competitors are beginning to sell products targeted to this group. Often called "token solar", these products will be sold through catalogues such as "Real Goods". Other products have significant weaknesses that an ASN developed product can overcome and still be highly price competitive. First and foremost, ASN's product will not be "token solar" but will be a real performer and a real value. Competitors have a real problem making their products safe from freeze damage. ASN does not have this problem. Properly targeted marketing that avoids the large catalogue markup is key to success in this soon to be high volume, high opportunity, market. Allow cost "UPS" shippable system is being developed for sale in non-freeze zones.

"Passive" Solar Systems:

In between are two other major residential solar opportunities with passive "Batch" and "Thermosyphon" heaters with pressurized water in the collectors. In the U. S., these heaters are most frequently applied to nonfreezing climates such as southern California and Florida. However, worldwide there are millions of applications. As these systems have no pumps or controls, they have the potential to be the lowest cost of all.

A batch heater is basically a tank under glass. Using current ASN framing technology, ASN can develop an attractive batch heater that uses a simplified design requiring fewer expensive fittings, new high technology "heat trap" glass as well as exclusive ASN passive/active (Pactive) technology.

A thermosyphon heater uses natural heat convection from a collector to heat water in a tank located above the collectors. ASN also has an exclusive arrangement to utilize a Patented thermosyphon heater that has the tank behind the collector rather than above it. Using ASN framing techniques, ASN can have the worlds only attractive thermosyphon solar water heater.

High Performance (HP) Black Chrome Collector Systems:

In volume, the ASN EPDM based collector has a significant cost per BTU advantage. However there are applications including open loop (pressurized) systems, upscale residential and commercial applications where a HP collector is desirable. This product can easily be developed out of the current ASN technology with the resulting advantage that the ASN HP collector will be significantly more attractive and easier to install than the competition. A goal will be to design this collector to have the highest performance of any collector in the field and give ASN products added distinction and market appeal (i.e. the Cadillac or Lexus effect).

Commercial Solar Collectors:

ASN's EPDM collectors weigh 40% of competitors units allowing for the potential of practical "large format" collectors. These collectors could be as large as 8' x 24" and could significantly reduce the cost of commercial systems. Hundreds of thousands of large scale applications exist in the U.S. and worldwide for such a product.

Summary of expanded product opportunity:

Al Rich has specific designs and plans for the above products. They can be brought to market in a short time and at relatively low cost compared to other products with such large market potential. This broad range of superior products, along with the ERIP developed low cost storage systems, will allow ASN to be in a position of market preeminence in the environmentally important and rapidly emerging, multi-billion dollar solar thermal water heating field.