Introducing solar thermal heating

Solar energy is the future

The sun is the single most important energy provider to the world, not your local electricity company or gas supplier and what’s more it’s FREE, free energy for life! And here’s how you can save money on your utility bills and start using free energy, even when it’s a cloudy day. And with the sun having 5 billion years life left, it’s safe to say we wont run out of the solar energy anytime soon!

With the UK lying in the Northern hemisphere there are periods in the winter months when the amount of solar energy we can cost effectively use will be less than 10% of the availability in the summer time. Even so, a well designed system could provide, on average, around 50- 70% of your domestic hot water requirements each year, every year and it’s always free! Unlike gas, oil or electricity the cost of which is rising each year and will continue to rise as our energy reserves steadily dwindle.

By using the Sun as an energy source we also reduce our use of fossil fuels resulting in reduced pollution from the greenhouse gasses (CO2) that we currently pollute our atmosphere with and which will blight our children’s future.
Choosing to go solar is financially viable, its also a life choice and one that tells the world I care for my children’s future and the future of this world, our earth.

Solar systems – where to start

Even on cloudy days there is a great deal of clean, low-cost energy available from the sun. A typical system includes a roof mounted solar collector sometimes referred to as the solar panel. In fact they can also be made up of tubes or panels. Heat is then pumped from the panels inside the building to a hot water store where supplementary heat can be added from a boiler or immersion to make it useful for normal domestic appliances.

The size of panels required for a domestic property are anywhere between 2m2 and 7m2, with panels either fitted to the roof using simple support brackets, or by integrating into the roof usually on new build or if re roofing. They can also be fitted to balconies or with adequate support to a gable end.

The choice of which system to use comes down to a balance of panel efficiency, size, cost, the guarantees on the panels, the appearance of the panels, and simplicity of installation.

In summary there’s more to solar water heating than the choice of collector such as:

  • where to position the storage cylinder
  • degree of insulation on pipes and cylinders
  • integrating the solar system to your existing hot water supply
  • type of pump and controller
  • positioning and size of the collectors
  • storage cylinder size

All of which and more we cover in greater detail on the following pages.