Our Products
Product Information Sheets
SD7 Series Solar Collector | SD8 Series Solar Collector
Manufactured in The U.S. Since 1974

General Information
Our two main product lines, the Pacemaker™ and the Sunstar Series™ of DHW systems, continue to be some of the most durable and high performance systems available.

Our Pacemaker II System™, designed to retrofit existing electric water heaters for open loop applications, extends Solar Development's claim as the cost effective leader for your solar water heating needs. Our Sunraker System™ with the super efficient DC Pump and photo voltaic panel, can operate independently from the utility grid.

For maximum freeze protection, our Sunstar System™ is unsurpassed.

Utilizes Solar Development's patented "bottom return" tank. Operates a pump with a simple appliance timer and utilizes SDI's thermally operated valve for freeze protection. System is used in moderate climates or as a three season, (Spring, Summer, & Fall) system in the North. Pacemaker™ is very simple and reliable because of the clever piping arrangement at the tank, which also makes it very efficient.

Pacemaker II™ - Award Winning Solar Water Heater
This system is used to retro fit existing water heater tanks. During the fall of 1991, Florida Governor Lawton Chiles sponsored a design competition to develop a low cost solar water heater. Governor Chiles felt that it was time to utilize Florida’s sun to it’s fullest in order to:
- Reduce the cost of water heating for Floridians
- Reduce pollution
- Reduce dependency on Foreign oil

There were sixty-six entries and SDI’s Pacemaker II was selected as the winner.
Pacemaker II was designed to provide a high quality and very simple system at a low cost. The system utilized an approximately 20 sq. ft. solar panel matched to the existing water heater in a home. A unique feature of the system is SDI’s new “triple fitting” which replaced the tank drain. The triple fitting includes a drain, pump suction and return from collector connection. It provides a simple and easy method for converting an existing tank to solar and only one person is needed to install the system.

The system can be used for any size family. For small families it will provide almost all of the hot water - larger families will require some back up electric heating.


• 2’x10’ solar panel (black chromed copper absorber plate, tempered glass)
• Prefabricated units

- ball valve - hose bib - pump (all bronze)
- ball valve - hose bib - check valve (all bronze)
- relief valve - automatic air vent (all bronze)
- freeze valve kit

• Triple fitting for converting tank
• In addition, you need to buy 3/8” pipe, pipe insulation, silicone seal, pipe dope, and electricians tape.
• Timer
• Roof penetration kit (copper)
• Compression fittings and solder fittings

This system has been extended to utilize larger systems by using 4' x 8' and 4' x 10' collectors.

Sunraker System™
PV Solar Water Heater

SDI’s new PV solar water heater represents the state-of-the-art in water heating. The pump, a new 30,000 hour brush less 12 volt d.c. model, is powered and controlled by a small photovoltaic panel mounted on the solar collector. The result is a a simple and reliable system that delivers maximum efficiency. The design also utilizes SDI’s highly successful bottom feed principal.

By returning the collector water to the tank bottom rather than the mid point, the need for a perfect check valve is greatly reduced. Therefore, back there siphoning at night due to a leaky* check valve is reduced to the point where very little heat is lost.
* Murphy’s Law will ensure this.

Automatic Protection
Should a freezing condition occur, the solar collector is protected by SDI’s new Pacemaker valve. This non-electric device opens when it approaches a freezing condition. Should this happen, warm water from the tank passes through the collector and out of the valve. As the valve warms it closes. If your home utilizes a well, inform SDI for a slight design modification.

Three Season vs. Four Season
The Sunraker PV™ system is designed for areas southern / temperate zones where freezing occurs only a few times a year. It can, however, be used in northern climates as a three season system. Draining occurs only a few times a year. It can, however, be used in northern climates as a three season system. Drain it in December and start it up in March. The Pacemaker™ freeze valve will protect it while the system is in use. The use of the PV system for three seasons is actually quite good since the collector is set at an angle to maximize spring, summer and fall use. The actual loss in performance during the cloudy winter months is not significant. For hard freezing climates, use our Sunstar System. It is also available with a DC pump and PV option.

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Sunstar System™
Solar Water Heater

Solar water heaters have been in use in America since the 1920s. In areas such as Florida and California they were widely used as late as the 1950’s. However, when electricity became very inexpensive, their use disappeared. In 1974, when it was first realized that the availability of fossil fuels was limited, solar water heaters became popular again. Now with World-wide energy problems and global warming considerations, solar water heating now offers the best option to save energy and money.

Early models were restricted to warm areas where freezing temperatures were rarely encountered. Now, after 10 years of development and proven performance, highly efficient solar water heaters are in widespread use in northern climates. Here is how they operate:

The energy from the sun penetrates the glass cover of the collector and strikes the blackened copper absorber plate. When this happens, the energy is converted to infrared heat where it is trapped by the glass cover. Fluid from the solar storage tank is circulated through the absorber plate via copper tubes where it removes the heat and returns it to the tank. This gradual heating process occurs during the sunshine hours and results in a tank full of hot water at the end of the day. Should the sun be weak, a back-up heater is there to provide the necessary energy. This back-up heater is a standard electric element located in the upper half of the solar storage tank or for larger families, a separate water heater is used. In order to prevent freezing of the solar collector, the fluid circulated is a combination of water and antifreeze. The fluid is circulated through a very long copper tube that wraps around the steel storage tank. As the fluid circulates around the tank, it’s heat is transferred into the potable water. The advantage of this type of heat exchanger is that it’s performance never deteriorates due to scale or sediment. Testing by Rheem Manufacturing, the world’s largest builders of water heaters has shown that its performance is right at the top when compared to other heat exchanger solar water heaters.

System efficient will be maintained over the years. The EVERCLEAN heat exchanger remains clean because it wraps around the tank and only comes in contact with the antifreeze solution. With a very large heat exchanger, the efficiency remains high.

SUNSTAR 80™ - a state of the art system from the proven engineering and design excellence of SDI.

Now System™
Similar to the Pacemaker™, but freeze protection is accomplished by natural circulation. This is an extremely simple and reliable system that is used in Florida, the Caribbean, the Southwestern U.S. or similar climates.

Spirit 6 System™
Operates a pump with a differential controller and utilizes SDI's thermally operated valve for freeze protection. This system is used in warm climates or as a three season, (Spring, Summer, & Fall) system in the North.

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Interested In Being A Dealer?  

We would enjoy discussing the possibility of your becoming a dealer with Solar Development. 

We are now scheduling meetings for our new and potential dealers who are attending the Solar Power International Trade Show at the Orlando Convention Center on
September 10-13, 2012.

To schedule a meeting and learn more about joining our growing network of solar dealers and associates, please contact us at
(or 855-4 SUNSTAR)

Also, if you will go to the Dealers link, and leave us your contact information and we will be happy to contact you with information about our dealer support
and training programs.