Solar water heating systems

What is solar energy

SOLAR energy is the cleanest and most inexhaustible of all known energy sources. Solar energy comes from radiation and is the heat, light and other radiation that is emitted from the sun. It can be classified into two categories, Thermal and Light. We shall concentrate here on Thermal energy. Thermal energy can be used to passively heat buildings through the use of certain building materials and architectural design, or used directly to heat water for household use. In many regions, solar water heaters are now a viable supplement or alternative to electric or gas hot water heating.

Thermal energy obtained from the sun can be used for a number of applications including producing hot water, space heating and even cooling by using absorption chilling technology.

Here in the southwest we get 10 – 20% above the UK average of 1000kWh annually of available solar energy.

What is solar energy

The Sun radiates enormous amounts of energy to the Earth in the UK this radiation is similar to the output of 1,000 power stations! So, why not make better use of this free energy?

The UK is now a net importer of gas, energy costs are set to rise and continue rising, we also produce much of our electricity from gas which means higher electricity prices. By using solar heating we can reduce our energy needs and our utility bills.

Carbon emissions in the form of CO2 are changing our climate by using solar we reduce our carbon emissions and help make a better future for our children. In the average household, water heating accounts for around 30% of CO2 emissions. By installing a solar water heater, which can provide between 50-70% of your hot water heating needs, you can reduce your total CO2 emissions by more than 20%.

Solar Grants available

Domestic Systems in England and Wales are eligible for a grant from the Low Carbon Building Programme and reduced VAT at 5%.

Community Grants are available in England and Wales of up to 50% or £50,000.
Businesses qualify for an Inland Revenue Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme, allowing the full installation costs to be written off in the first year.

What is solar energy

Typically systems can be designed and fitted from around £3500 for a 1 – 2 person system depending on the type of system and collectors used, location, ease of installation etc.

Evacuated tube collectors tend to cost more than high efficiency flat plates but can offer some advantages. However the efficiency of a system is not solely due to the collectors used it is the system as a whole that if properly specified offers the greatest efficiencies