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Solar thermal

Solar hot water

Solar thermal panels generate heat for your home and hot water and are not to be confused with PV systems, which exclusively provide free electricity.

Solar thermal panels are installed in a similar way to solar PV, on south or southwest facing rooftops for optimal efficiency. Installation will depend on how much hot water you need for your home, with a calculation of one square metre per person often appropriate.

Less efficient solar thermal collectors will require a greater space of your roof to be covered, and you’ll also need hot water cylinders, controls and necessary pipework.

Plus, with the Government set to bring in the Renewable Heat Incentive, a guaranteed fixed payment for solar thermodynamics, you’ll even earn an income by producing environmentally friendly heat.

What’s important is you’re not misled by dodgy salesman tactics. Consumer watchdog Which? say that tactics are often used to exaggerate potential savings with thermal panels, so comparing quotes is the best way to be sure.

There are currently no free solar panels schemes for thermal available.

Solar thermodynamics

Solar thermodynamics has become the leading product in the market, and they can provide heat for your home in temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius. This means you’re assured of continuous hot water throughout the year.

With virtually no maintenance needed to ensure they operate efficiently throughout the year, solar thermodynamics are an effective form of hot water heating, reducing bills by up to 80% annually.

Benefits of a solar thermal panel system

Solar thermal is a different kettle of fish to PV solar panels and their benefits include:

  • Providing you with as much as a third of your annual hot water needs

  • This can save you hundreds of pounds every year on your heating, which take up over 60% of your annual energy bills

  • A possible fixed payment of 17.3p/kWh for seven years under the Renewable Heat Incentive

  • Maintenance costs are very low and warranties normally cover between five and ten years, guaranteeing a successful experience with solar thermal

  • Adding value to your home, with potential buyers attracted by the possibility to save money every year on energy bills

  • Reducing carbon dioxide emissions with a natural, environmentally friendly energy source

Solar thermal quotes

If you want to start cutting your heating bills and helping the environment, just complete our quick solar hot water form and receive up to four FREE quotes from local, vetted and reputable professionals.



Average Solar thermal cost

Average price per Solar thermal job in 2021

Avg. price low

Avg. price low
£3,000

Avg. price

Avg. price
£4,000

Avg. price high

Avg. price high
£4,600

£4700

£3525

£2350

£1175

£0

Solar thermal installation cost in 2021

Labour cost £2,800
Material cost £1,000
Waste removal £200

Advantages for Solar thermal

  • Save on your water heating bills
  • Low maintenance
  • Environmentally friendly

Disadvantages for Solar thermal

  • Solar thermal panels only heat water
  • Dependent on the climate
  • Upfront installation costs can be high

Solar thermal Manufacturers

Solar thermal FAQs

Does solar thermal work in the winter

If you’re considering getting a solar thermal system, one of the first things that comes to mind is the possibility of the system functioning properly during the cold months. The short and simple answer to this question is yes, a solar thermal system works in the winter. However, the downside here is that it’ll be a lot less efficient when compared to how it operates during the warmer months or summer. As a result of this fact, you’ll likely need to rely more on your boiler, immersion heater or any other backup heating system during this period as your solar thermal system will fail to contribute as much as it does during the warmer months. So what exactly is the reason why solar thermal is less effective and less efficient in the winter period? Let’s have a look!

As you know, solar thermal system banks on the sun’s energy to heat the water for your home’s use. During the cold months or winter, the sunlight becomes a lot less available when compared to the warmer months, as a result, there’s less sunlight that’s available to be used for its solar energy. And even more so at the periods when the days are shorter or skies are clearly overcast.

Also having a great impact on a solar thermal system’s output is heavy snow. Flat plate collectors normally have the capacity to cope better during snowy conditions as the light that’s able to travel through the snow will heat up the absorber plate - thereby making the snow slide off more quickly. However, the case is contrary with evacuated tube collectors which possesses a form of vacuum insulation that’s crafted to minimize the loss of heat, meaning they can’t generate heat to melt and cause the snow to slide off in a similar way.

What is solar thermal

Unlike the photovoltaic (PV) power which works to turn a part of the electromagnetic radiation of the sun directly to electrons and electricity, a solar thermal can simply be referred to as the absorption of the sun’s heat for human use. As a result, the solar thermal has a wider range of uses than the PV does in several ways. This is due to the fact that the sun’s heat can be absorbed and transported via a medium and the stored energy incorporated for several great purposes such as to heat water, to heat and cool a home or living space, to prepare a meal as well as to generate electricity. All these functions are useful for both residential and commercial spaces.

There are generally three different ranges of solar thermal energy that are being used which includes the low temperature ( for heating, cooling as well as ventilation), the mid temperature ( used for preparing meals, heating hot water and the likes) as well as the high temperature ( used for generating electricity). To focus more on generating electricity, there are a wide array of ways through which the sun’s heat can be directed at creating electricity via a heat exchanger which operates to super heat water or inert gas to power an electricity- generating plant or to produce electricity via a Stirling engine.

In order to increase their output or make them more efficient, evacuated glass tubes are used to encircle the tubes which in turn helps them to collect more heat energy while also protecting them from re-radiating the heat energy absorbed. The trough are normal positioned north to south as well as to keep tabs on the travels of the sun throughout the day.

Can solar thermal be used for central heating

If you’re thinking about getting a solar thermal system for your home, it’s normal to consider the possibility of using the system for central heating. So is this viable? In this article, you’ll learn how solar thermal panels can be incorporated for heating. Let’s have a closer look!

Heating and hot water systems, on the average, takes up a sizeable part ( up to 70 percent) of our energy bills. Now take a moment to imagine how cool it’ll be to generate your own hot water for free without having to depend on any supplier which in turn significantly reduces your energy bills. Well, this is exactly the work of central heating systems that are powered by solar. That’s super cool, right? Well, let’s have a look at how this works.

While solar panels generates electricity, solar thermal panels produces heat for hot water production. However, what’s important is the fact that they both make use of the sun’s natural energy to provide us with a free and renewable energy we can use in our homes. Here’s how it works.

Solar thermal panels directed at central heating incorporates the sun’s natural energy to heat water in a storage cylinder which is then available for use at home. These solar thermal panels are exposed to the sunlight by fitting them on the roof of the home. Generally, they’ll include tubes that contains liquid whose job is to collect the heat and then transfer it to a hot water cylinder that’s solar compatible in your home. The heat is generated for free and is also renewable. This is help you save lots of money on oil, gas and even electricity which you purchase to power the cylinder.

Do I need planning permission for solar thermal panels?

Most domestic solar thermal panels do not need planning permission and are covered by permitted development rights. There are restrictions on the size and location of these systems. If you live in a conservation area or listed building, or want to install a very large solar thermal system, check with your local authority to see if you will need planning permission.

What are solar thermal panels

Asides from the fact that solar energy can be converted into electricity with the help of solar panels, there’s also another pretty cool way the sun’s power can be harnessed - solar thermal technologies. These technologies are able to convert sunlight into heat rather than power and these are in fact the very first solar energy products that were commercialized in the United Kingdom. Solar thermal panels, in a similar way to solar PVs, can help in minimizing your carbon footprint while also assisting you to save good money on your energy bills by providing the much needed coverage for your heating needs with the help of a renewable energy source that’s totally free.

Solar thermal panels provides some great benefits which is capable of making all homeowners in the UK consider installing one in their respective homes. Let’s take a closer look at these benefits.

✓ When compared to solar PV panels, they’re a more affordable heating option and also have a shorter payback period.

✓ Solar thermal panels are more efficient than PV panels due to the fact that the heat waves are able to hold more energy than sunlight and also because there’s no electricity transformation process.

✓ Solar thermal panels are able to operate in cold climates, strong wind as well as overcast weather, and make use of an energy storage system.

✓ They can help you save about 600kg of carbon dioxide emissions on an annual basis.

✓ Although most of the solar thermal panel systems come with a warranty usually within the range of 5 to 10 years, they’re able to last up to 25 years. What’s more? The require just a little maintenance, meaning the main cost you’d have to worry about is the cost of installation.

Is solar thermal worth it in the uk

If you’re thinking about installing a solar thermal system in your house, it’s always important to put into consideration numerous factors before you proceed. While some solar thermal systems are suitable for use at home, there are also some that are suitable for businesses or organizations which normally requires a big amount of hot water like hotels, restaurants, schools, hospitals and many more. You’ll also find some types available in the market that are suitable for communities to satisfy communal hot water demands.

It should, however, be noted that solar thermal systems do not have the capacity to produce all the hot water demand of a house. In the UK, an average household will need an annual water heating of between 3000kWh to 5000kWh. Whereas, a solar thermal system is only able to meet about 40 percent to 60 percent of this demand.

With that in mind, it’s also worth noting that during the summer months when the solar radiation is at its peak and hot water demand is relatively lower when compared to other seasons, a solar thermal system may be able to provide all of your household’s hot water needs. This implies that during this period you may not find the need to operate your boiler at all. However, during winter or colder months, when you have a higher hot water demands in contrary to a lower solar radiation, a solar thermal system will only be able to take care of about 20 percent of your household’s hot water needs. And that ultimately implies that during this period, you’ll need to rely more on a alternative or backup source of heat like gas, coal, electricity, oil or LPG.

Can solar thermal panels provide enough hot water for my home?

Obviously the performance of a solar thermal system will vary depending on the location of the home, the insulation of the property, and your own hot water requirements. Solar thermal panels are capable of providing all of your hot water requirements from April to September. They will still make a contribution to your hot water needs for the rest of the year, but in general you will need a backup system to further heat the water in the colder months.

Do solar hot water systems need servicing

Like every other systems in your home, solar hot water systems will require periodic inspections as well as a regular maintenance in order to keep it running as efficiently as it should. Not only that, the various components will also require either repair or replacement from time to time. It’ll also be proactive to take the necessary precautions so as to prevent worrying issues like corrosion, scaling or freezing.

Is it a task you can handle on your own? Well, there are some inspections and maintenance activities you should be able to handle on your own, however, you’ll also require a qualified technician to carry out the more technical or complicated tasks. You should also take note that it may actually be more cost effective to have some systems replaced, shut off or removed completely than having it repaired. Here are some of the essential inspections that should be carried out on solar system components. They include:

✓ Collector soiling. Periodic cleaning of your collectors is important especially in dry and dusty climates.

✓ Plumbing, ductwork and wire connections. Check the pipe connections for fluid leaks. Examine duct connections and seals. Also make sure that all wire connections are tight.

✓ Roof penetrations. Flashing and sealant around the roof penetration should be checked to see that it’s in a good shape.

✓ Collector shading. Check for shading of the collectors on annual basis as this may greatly affect their performance.

✓ Support structures. Examine all bolts and nuts which connects the support structures to the collectors for tightness.

✓ Heat transfer fluids. Anti freeze solutions in liquid solar heating collectors will have to be replaced periodically. And this right here is a task that’s best handled by a licensed technician.

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