Solar Thermal : How it works-video
Solar thermal heating systems harvest solar energy through a collector which absorbs energy from the sun, this energy is transferred into heat in a glycole solution that flows through heat in the collector and the heat is then transferred to the water which is stored in a conventiona hot water system.
- Solar thermal panels are mounted on your roof or on the ground using brackets and frames (flat plate or evacuated tubes)
- Heat transfer fluid – this can be water, ethylene glycol (commonly known as anti-freeze), or a mixture of the two
- A coil heat exchanger within a water cylinder – this ‘twin coil’ cylinder will replace your existing cylinder and include a backup coil from your existing boiler to provide extra water heating when required
- A pump which circulates the heat transfer fluid between panels and cylinder (the pump is usually powered by mains electricity, but can also be powered by a small photovoltaic cell)
- Insulated pipes between the panels and the water cylinder – called flow and return piping
- A system control panel which controls the heat transfer fluid pump and provides information on the system’s performance, as well as any faults should one develop
- A heat flow generation meter, which measures the output of the system – this is necessary in order to claim Renewable Heat Incentive payments
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THE BENEFITS OF SOLAR WATER HEATING
Solar water heating systems, or ‘solar thermal’ systems, use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water. A conventional boiler or immersion heater can be used to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.
Hot Water Throughout the Year
The system works all year round, though you’ll need to heat the water further with a boiler or immersion heater during the winter months.
Reduced Energy Bills
Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced
Lower Carbon Footprint
Solar hot water is a green, renewable heating system and can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions
Claim Renewable Heat Incentive
You will be paid for generating your own heat energy regardless of whether you use it all. There’s a user-friendly calculator available which tells you how much you can earn through this scheme. It can be hundreds of pounds a year!
Is solar water heating right for your home?
Things to consider: