Using solar thermal energy to generate hot water. People often confuse photovoltaic panels (commonly referred to as “solar panels”) with solar thermal. Photovoltaic panels use the sun’s light to produce electricity, solar thermal panels use light from the sun to heat up water. Typically a solar thermal system will use much less roof space than a photovoltaic system but plumbing and internal space for a storage cylinder are required.
A solar collector mounted on the roof absorbs energy from the sun and transfers it to a medium (usually a water-glycol mixture) which is then pumped to a coil in a tank where it heats up the water. A conventional immmersion heater or gas boiler can be used to top up the temperature of the water particularly in winter or to provide extra hot water when required.
Once the cost of the installation has been paid for (typically £3000 – £5000) the hot water is free and can provide upto 70% of a typical house holds hot water reducing energy bills and the carbon footprint.
Households can now claim payments for the heat they generate under the Renewable Heat Incentive, for more information click here. For a no obligation survey to see if your house or business is suitable for solar thermal click here.