|Solar water heating systems use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water. A conventional boiler or immersion heater can be used to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.
The benefits of solar water heating
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 do solar water heating systems work?
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 two types of solar water heating panels:
- Evacuated tubes (as in the picture above)
- Flat plate collectors, which can be fixed on the roof tiles or integrated into the roof.
Larger solar panels can also be arranged to provide some contribution to heating your home as well. However, the amount of heat provided is generally very small and it is not normally considered worth while.
Costs, savings and earnings
Savings are moderate - the system could provide most of your hot water in the summer, but much less during colder weather.
Contact us for a free no obligation quote for installing a solar water heating system.
Maintenance costs for solar water heating systems are generally very low. Most solar water heating systems come with a five-year or ten-year warranty and require little maintenance. Once fitted we will leave written details of any maintenance checks that you can carry out from time to time, ensuring everything is working properly.
Solar water heating systems can achieve savings on your energy bills. Typical savings from a 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.
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 Summer 2013.
From August 2011, you may be able to get help with the installation costs of a new solar water heating system through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme.
Is solar water heating right for your home?
Do you have a sunny place to put solar panels?
You'll need around five square metres of roof space which faces east to west through south and receives direct sunlight for the main part of the day.
The panels don't have to be mounted on a roof: they can be fixed to a frame on a flat roof or hanging from a wall.
Do you have space for a larger, or an extra, hot water cylinder?
If a dedicated solar cylinder is not already installed then you will usually need to replace the existing cylinder, or add a dedicated cylinder with a solar heating coil.
Is your current boiler compatible with solar water heating?
Most conventional boiler and hot water cylinder systems are compatible with solar water heating. But if your boiler is a combination boiler (combi) and you don't currently have a hot water tank, a solar hot water system may not be compatible.
Contact us for a free no obligation assessment on your home and help you choose the best setup to meet your needs.
More Information :
A Buyer's Guide to Solar Hot Water (produced by the Energy Saving Trust).