Solar water heating systems use the heat, in the form of infrared radiation, from the sun to heat the hot water supply for property. .
The benefits of solar water heating
Solar hot water heating will work best between March and October. They will provide some heat in the winter months but you will need to help this with a boiler or immersion heater. This heat will however be free once you have paid for the system and so can never go up in cost. This will also reduce your carbon footprint.
How do solar water heating systems work?
There are two types of solar water heating panels:
• Evacuated tubes. These are like fluorescent tubes and are made with a rod of pure copper in the middle of a vacuum. Because the rod of copper is in a vacuum, it means that the heat that has been absorbed by the copper can not escape.
• Flat plate collectors, These are a bit like flat radiators that are painted black to absorb the energy of the sun .hey are filled with a Glycol mixture which is a sort of antifreeze so they don’t freeze in winter and burst the pipes.
Costs, savings and earnings
A typical solar thermal hot water heating system should cost approximately £5,000. The system will provide most of your hot water during the summer but will need additional help during the winter months. Therefore saving will be long term.
Here is very little maintenance required for solar thermal systems apart from keeping them clean and free from debri. You will need to check that there are no leaks on the system and that the pump is working correctly. You should check and possibly replace the antifreeze every 5 years. This will cost approximately £100.
Solar water heating systems are a long term investment. They will reduce your water heating bills by approximately £90 per year if you currently use an immersion heater to heat your water.
You wil be able to obtain Renewable Heat lncentive payments for the heat that is produce by the panels. Renewable Heat Incentive.
From August 2011, you will be able to get help with the installation costs of a new solar water heating system through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme.
Green Deal finance and renewables
Installation of solar thermal heating is eligible to the Green Deal.
Is solar water heating right for your home?
You will need to have a south facing roof with approximately 5 square metres of available space
You will probably have to replace your existing hot water tank to one with a dedicated heat coil.
If you currently have a ‘Combi’ boiler without a separate hot water tank, it might not be compatible.