Solar heating systems are designed to capture, store and re-use the heat of the sun. Their main application is in central heating and hot water systems, where they can reduce – and sometimes do away with – the need for a boiler. Solar water heating systems are being installed more and more frequently in private houses, offices, factories and public buildings. Energy bills are dramatically reduced as a result. And installation costs are partly offset by the tax incentives paid for high efficiency and especially renewable energy systems.
Solar heating uses a completely natural and 100% renewable energy source: the sun. Solar energy is totally free and neither consumes fossil fuels nor generates polluting emissions. The fact that solar energy is ecological and sustainable, however, does not mean that it is simple. A typical solar water heating system requires one or more collectors to capture the sun’s heat, a heat transfer medium and circulation system, and a hot water tank to store generated heat. Depending on the type of system, either water of propylene glycol may be used as heat transfer medium.
The specialist engineers who install and maintain solar water heating systems in private homes, factories and public buildings have to carry all their “tools of the trade” with them. This means hand and power tools, measurement instruments, spare parts, nuts, bolts and fittings and anything else needed to keep their customers’ systems operating efficiently.
To get around, they need a van with racking specially designed for a solar heating technical assistance service. Irrespective of its size, this van needs to be able to carry all the equipment and materials needed to install and service solar water heating systems and also has to provide a space that can be used as a mobile workshop – all in total safety.
The following photos illustrate custom-made racking for a commercial vehicle used by solar heating installation and service technicians.
Rule one when installing racking for solar heating engineers: protect the van!
You should never install racking in a van without protecting the interior first. This essential first step ensures that even the most intensive use of the vehicle’s load compartment, sudden movements of cargo and tools and the action of damp cannot damage thin wall panels, compromising the van’s bodywork and reducing its working life.
In this particular case the floor was covered with a resinated plywood panel with protective metal edging at the doors. The side walls and doors were lined with painted panels strong enough to support the racking and protect the van body against impacts and dents. This top quality lining also gives the van interior a tidier, cleaner and more professional look.
A complete, A to Z racking system in this van for solar heating engineers
The upfit in this van covers both side walls. The left wall has been fitted with full-height storage consisting of two wheel arch units, one closed with a door, the other configured to carry tool cases, and a set of shelves and metal drawers with anti-slip mats and optional metal dividers. There are also two specially designed trays for metal component cases, so that power tools and spare parts can be carried around on site. The top level consists of a tray for carrying long items.
The right side is dedicated entirely to storage for solar heating system components. Over an open wheel arch unit at the bottom we find an impressive set of 46 drawers of various sizes, all of reduced depth and all transparent. This configuration maximises storage capacity for spares and accessories and makes it easy to see what is inside.
This van for heating engineers also boasts a number of useful Syncro accessories:
lashing systems for cargo and materials: the metal cargo bar with straps and multi-purpose hooks on the bulkhead can be arranged to carry objects of different sizes; an aerosol holder has been fitted to the rear of the left side cabinet.
Cleaning accessories: the paper roll holder at the end of the load compartment is indispensable for cleaning or drying hands or tools.
A vice with fold-away support: an essential accessory for heating engineers who need to work efficiently away from the workshop.
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