Solar Water Heating
Solar water heating systems (often just called Solar Thermal) use solar heat from the sun to warm hot water for domestic use. It is a renewable technology that is installed to heat the water in your home in a more energy efficient manner, while cutting down your energy costs as you use your conventional heating system less often.
A conventional boiler or immersion heater is then used to heat the water to the desired temperature, or to indeed, to provide hot water when solar energy may not be available.
By using hot water heating & immersion controllers, you can ensure even more energy savings as it these optimise both the time and the temperature of your water heating.
How it works
Solar water heating systems use solar panels, which are fitted to your roof. These collect heat from the sun and use it to heat up water which is then stored in a hot water cylinder.
The cost of installing a solar water heating system is around £3,500 (including VAT at the reduced rate of 5%). A typical system will save around £50 to £80 per annum dependant on how you currently heat your water.
Typically, there are two types of solar water heating systems:
A close-coupled system
The storage tank is mounted horizontally immediately above the solar collectors on the roof. No pumping is required as the hot water naturally rises into the tank through thermo-siphon flow.
A pump-circulated system
The storage tank is ground or floor mounted and is below the level of the collectors; a circulating pump is required to move water or heat transfer fluid between the tank and the collectors.
It must be noted that solar heating is only applicable when homes have both a boiler and a hot water tank. Combi boilers are not compatible with solar water heating due to the fact that these systems do not have a hot water tank.
In both solar heating systems there sometimes may not be sufficient solar heat energy to deliver sufficient hot water; this again is where the boiler or immersion heater is used to boost the water temperature.
• Hot water all year round: the system works all year, although during the colder winter months the water temperature will probably require more frequent boosting with the aid of your boiler or immersion heater.
• Save on your bills: as sunlight is a free commodity, your hot water costs are reduced, once the cost of the installation is paid for.
• Cut your carbon footprint: solar hot water is a green, renewable heating system and can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.
You may also be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from solar water heating system through the government's Renewable Heat Incentive. This scheme is due to be launched in October 2012.