Air collectors from Saint Petersburg

Air collectors from Saint Petersburg

Solar Fox, a solar air collector manufacturer founded in 2018 by a private investor in Saint Petersburg, northern Russia, has announced plans to expand its dealer network and production capacity this year. Its collectors, which come in several sizes, are used for space heating and ventilation in the residential sector. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Solar Fox Managing Partner Evgeny Voloshin about what the start-up business aims to achieve in the near future.
 
Voloshin confirmed that Solar Fox has its own manufacturing facility in the city. The only components the business needs to import to make its Russian-designed metal frame air collectors are the polymer absorber panels, which come from China. He added that current factory output allows Solar Fox to manufacture up to 400 units a month, which corresponds to about 5,000 units per year.
 
The business’s online product portfolio shows a variety of units, ranging from 0.7 m2 for ventilation and heating support in rooms with a floor area of at most 50 m2 to the company’s largest collector, a 3 m2 unit called SF5-VСl, which is suitable for spaces measuring up to 150 m2. Collectors are fixed to a room’s exterior walls as air circulates via an inlet and outlet between the room that needs to be heated and the collector itself (see the following chart). Voloshin said the collectors can be run at low temperatures, an important feature given Russia’s mostly cold climate. 
 
Air is supplied to a room using a fan connected to the collector via an inlet located below the outlet. Photo taken from https://solarfox-energy.com/
 
According to Voloshin, solar products are still a relatively new phenomenon in Russia: “Homeowners or businesses installing and using collectors has yet to become the norm.” But the interest of residential and industrial users in renewables is rising steadily. Solar Fox has also seen a growing number of requests from potential partners, so the main task this year will be to develop a regional dealer network.
 
Holes drilled into a wall to make way for an air tube leading to the collector (left) and an outlet letting air into a room (right). 
 
This article was written by Eugene Gerden, a Moscow-based freelance journalist specialising in renewable energies.
 
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