SOLAR WATER HEATING SYSTEMS
Posted on 14 August 2015
The benefits of using a solar water heating system
Hot water from the sun and for free... what could be better than that? A solar-powered water heating system should cover all of your hot water usage in the summer. In the winter, you will have to rely on a secondary immersion heater system with the solar-powered water heating system still heating the water on very overcast days. Other befits include:
- 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.
- Cut your bills: sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced.
- Cut your carbon footprint: solar hot water is a green, renewable heating system and can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.
How do solar water heating systems work?
Solar panels should be located on a roof with a south-east to south-west orientation. Prior to installation of the solar-powered water heating system, we would need to visit your site to check the suitability and to measure the size of panels needed.
Solar water heating systems use solar panels, called collectors, fitted to your roof. These collect heat from the sun and use it to heat up water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. A boiler or immersion heater can be used as a back-up to heat the water further to reach the temperature you want.
There are two types of solar water heating panels:
- evacuated tubes
- flat plate collectors, which can be fixed on the roof tiles or integrated into the roof
Larger solar panels can also be arranged to provide some contribution to heating your home as well. However, the amount of heat provided is generally very small and it is not normally considered worthwhile.
Costs, savings and earnings
The cost of installing a typical solar water heating system is around 4,800 pounds (including VAT at 5%). Savings are moderate - the system could provide most of your hot water in the summer, but much less during colder weather.
Maintenance costs are very low. Most solar water heating systems come with a five-year or ten-year warranty and require little maintenance. You should take a look at your panels every year and have them checked more thoroughly by an accredited installer every 3-5 years, or as specified by your installer.
Solar water heating systems can achieve savings on your energy bills. Based on the results of our recent field trial, typical savings from a well-installed and properly used system are 55 pounds per year when replacing gas heating and 80 pounds per year when replacing electric immersion heating; however, savings will vary from user to user.
Typical carbon savings are around 230kgCO2/year when replacing gas and 510kgCO2/year when replacing electric immersion heating.
You may be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from a solar water heating system through the government's Renewable Heat Incentive. 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.