What is Solar Water Heating
One of the biggest uses of fossil fuels is the heating of water in the home, solar water heating systems, also known as solar thermal, use heat from the sun to warm water. This can then be used like domestic hot water for showers, baths and hot taps, heat a swimming pool, or even heating in your home.
Solar water heating can meet about two thirds of your hot water needs. A solar water
heating system uses panels fitted to your roof to heat water for use around the home.
This will generate a saving of up to £90 on an average homes annual water-
Solar water heating panels should not be confused with solar PV panels which produce electricity.
The benefits of solar water heating
How do solar water heating systems work?
The key component of a solar heating system is the solar panel called a solar collector.
One or more solar collectors (tubes or panels, usually mounted on a roof), harvest the suns energy and transforms the radiation into heat.
The controller then activates the pump to transfer the heated liquid through the coil in the cylinder, thus heating water for showers and hot water taps.
The second heating coil in the cylinder is connected to a back-
There are two types of solar water heating panels:
This is made up of an array of evacuated double glass-
Flat Plate Collectors
Usually a insulated metal box that has a transparent cover made of strong glass or plastic to let the sun’s energy through. Inside the solar collector lots of thin copper pipes carry water through an absorber plate heating it up as it passes through. Behind the copper pipe is reflective foil and then insulation so that the sun’s energy does not escape.
The Energy Saving Trust found little difference in performance between the two, for many people the decision is a matter of aesthetics.
Choosing a solar water heating system
You will need to consider four factors when choosing a solar water heating system:
● your average hot water usage
● the area of south-
● your existing water heating system
● your budget
To give you a rough estimate you will need 1m² of collector per person in the household. Each metre of panel area will need between 30 and 60 litres of water tank volume.
An average household will need around five square metres of roof space which faces due south, although they are effective facing anywhere between south east and south west. However, the panels don't have to be mounted on a roof: they can also be mounted at ground level. It is important that they get direct sunlight.
Solar water heating panels are compatible with most existing hot water systems. However,
if your boiler is a combi-
If you have an electric shower it won’t use your solar hot water, similarly cold-
Roof mounted panels are usually a ‘permitted development’, so you won’t need planning permission. Exceptions include National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and listed buildings.
A competent accredited installer will be able to assess your home and help you choose the best setup to meet your needs.
The cost of installing a typical domestic solar water heating (solar thermal) is around £4,800 (including VAT at 5%), including installation and the cost of a new twin coil hot water cylinder.
Panels are available for DIY installation, but buying them this way means that you have to pay the full rate of VAT and, more significantly, won't be eligible for the renewable heat incentive payments.
A typical residential solar water heating system reduces the need for conventional
water heating by about two-
Solar water heating systems can reduce your energy bills. Typical savings are £55 per year when replacing gas heating and £80 per year when replacing electric immersion heating. You will also be directly reducing CO² emissions, contributing to a healthier environment.
You may be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from a solar water heating system through the government’s . This scheme should be launched in October 2012.
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.
Solar pool heating systems warm hot water using heat from the sun and the pools filtration system to keep the water temperature consistent.
Room space heating use solar panels to blow warm air into the home keeping room temperatures warm.
Replacing your old incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lights is the best way to save energy on lighting in the average home. See our comprehensive guide to saving energy with lighting.
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