Solar Water Heating (Solar Thermal)
Solar water heating systems use free heat from the sun to heat water. A conventional boiler or immersion heater can be used as a back up to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.
Solar Water Heating Benefits
- Hot water throughout the year - The system works all year round, though you'll need to heat the water further with a boiler or immersion heater during the winter months.
- Cut your bills - Sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced
- Cut your carbon footprint - Solar hot water is a green, renewable heating system and can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.
How Solar Water Heating Works?
Solar water heating systems use solar panels, called collectors, fitted to your roof. These collect heat from the sun and use it to heat up water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. A boiler or immersion heater can be used as a back up to heat the water further to reach the temperature you want.
There are 2 types of solar water heating panels:
- Evacuated Tubes - Small tubes that form a panel for collection of solar radiation. These tubes are insulated in vacuum so have very little heat loss and are most efficient for our climate.
- Flat Plate Collectors - Are well insulated panels similar to a Velux window and provide hot water, which can be fixed on top of the roof or integrated into the roof.
Solar Water Heating benefits
- Maintenance - Maintenance costs are very low. Most solar water heating systems come with a five-year or ten-year warranty and require little maintenance. You should take a look at your panels every year and have them checked more thoroughly by an accredited installer every 3-5 years or as specified by your installer.
- Savings - Solar water heating systems can achieve savings on your energy bills. Based on the results of our recent field trial, typical savings from a well-installed and properly used system are £55 per year when replacing gas heating and £80 per year when replacing electric immersion heating; however savings will vary from user to user.
Typical carbon savings are around 230kgCO2/year when replacing gas and 510kgCO2/year when replacing electric immersion heating.
- Earnings - You may be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from a solar water heating system through the government's Renewable Heat Incentive. This scheme should be launched in October 2012.
From August 2011, you may be able to get help with the installation costs of a solar water heating system through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme
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