Last year was the second warmest year on record, according to provisional global temperature figures released 2011 by the UK Met Office and the University of East Anglia. Take advantage and consider the benefits of a solar hot water system installed by your LOCAL solar specialists at First Call Heating Ltd
How do solar water heating systems work?
Solar water heating systems use solar panels, called collectors, fitted to your roof. These collect heat from the sun and use it to warm water which is stored in a hot water cylinder.
There are two types of solar water heating panels; they are evacuated tubes and flat plate collectors. Flat plates collectors can be fixed on the roof tiles or integrated into the roof.
A boiler or immersion heater can be used as a back up to heat the water further to reach the temperature set by the cylinders thermostat when the solar water heating system does not reach that temperature. (The cylinder thermostat should be set at 60 degrees centigrade.)
Larger solar panels can also provide energy to heat your home as well - though usually only on bright spring and autumn months to supplement the boiler main heating boiler
The benefits of solar water heating
- 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
Is a solar water heating system suitable for my home?
To tell if solar water heating is right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:
- Do you have a sunny place to put solar panels? You'll need around 5 square meters of roof space which faces east to west through south and receives direct sunlight for the main part of the day. Alternatively, if you do not have a south facing roof and if you have space, you could install two panels, one facing east and one facing west - but this will make installation more costly. The panels don't always have to be mounted on a roof; they can be fixed to a frame on flat roofs.
- Do you have space for a larger, or an extra, hot water cylinder? If a dedicated solar cylinder is not already installed then you will need to replace the existing cylinder, or add a dedicated cylinder with a solar heating coil.
- Is your current boiler compatible with solar water heating? Most conventional boiler and hot water cylinder systems are compatible with solar water heating. If your boiler is a combination boiler (combi) and you don't currently have a hot water tank then a solar hot water system may not be compatible.
- Do you need planning permission? In England most solar water heating systems don't need planning permission, but it is always best to consult your local planning office if you live in a Listed Building, or a building in a Conservation Area or World Heritage Site. If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you will need to consult your local authority.
Cost and savings
Costs for a typical solar water heating system are around £3500-£4500 (Inc VAT at 5%).
Savings are moderate - a solar water heating system can reduce your water heating bill by between £50 and £85 per year. It will also save up to 570kg of CO2 emissions, depending on what fuel you will be replacing.
Maintenance costs around £200 for the solar fluid to be changed after 3-5 years and an annual yearly inspection possibly tied in with a boiler service. First Call Heating give a free 5 year guarantee on each system they install and the panels have a 10 year manufacturers guarantee
|Fuel Displaced||£ Saving per year||CO2 saving per year|
All savings are approximate and are based on the hot water heating requirements of a 3 bed semi detached home with a 3.4m squared panel.
Already have a system installed
To keep your system in top condition First Call Heating offer a Solar service, which includes a full system check and test of the solar fluid.
If your existing system is not working they can help with that to.
Funding and Grants
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have announced that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is expected to be launched in 2011. The government have set by £12 million for the scheme, initially systems installed after July 2009 and by an accredited MSC installers will qualify for a Premium payment of £300 from the Energy Saving Trust and future yearly payments expected to be between £100-200 per year.
First Call Heating
As we are a local heating company, we decided that solar hot water was a good way forward for customers who would like to reduce their fuel bill and be more environmentally friendly.
We have been accredited by MCS to install systems that met the strict requirements for future Premium payments and potential feed in tariffs.
Most of our installers have solar hot water systems fitted on their own homes and we have completed over 50 local installations for customers who have been delighted with the savings they have achieved.
To find out more ring for a free chat and survey on 023 80262690.
Benefits of Solar Water Heating
It’s currently not the cheapest technology, but there are sufficient benefits of installing solar water heating.
Firstly, it will provide your household with hot water throughout the year. It won’t be a completely independent system though as it will need a boiler or immersion-heater through the winter months to guarantee you have hot water all year round.
But having a solar water system installed will definitely cut the cost of your bills and reduce your carbon footprint. The cost of running the system is minimal, with maintenance checks being the only real cost after the price of the system itself and the installers work, because sunlight is of course free. You can also get grants for the systems and installation work that will cover some of the costs. You also get peace of mind that the system doesn’t release any CO2 emissions and is completely renewable making it a favourite for green enthusiasts. But there are considerations to look at before you think about opting for solar water heating.
Considerations of having a Solar Water Heating System
Firstly, you must have somewhere on the roof of your house that gets a lot of sunlight. You’ll need about five metres square of roof space which faces east to west through south and is subject to direct sunlight for the majority of the day. If this isn’t possible then you can have two separate panels attached to your home, one facing east and one facing west, but it would hike up the price of installation. The panels don’t necessarily have to be fitted directly onto a roof – they can be mounted on a frame.
Another consideration you have to take into mind is allocating space to a larger, or another, hot water cylinder in your home. When installing you’ll need to replace the existing cylinder you have for one with a solar heating coil or have an additional cylinder just for your solar heating system.
As well as having to think about the hot water cylinder, you should also check to see if your current boiler is compatible with solar water heating systems. Combi boilers where you don’t have a hot water tank may not be compatible, so you’ll need to look into this.
Finally, although it’s unlikely a modern home will have any issues with it, it’s worth consulting your local planning office to ensure you don’t need any sort of planning permission to go ahead with fitting a system.
Information on solar water heating is becoming more readily available with more UK installers and experts in solar power emerging into the market. And there are even DIY panel options that have appeared mainly from American sources – however, these are recommended to be avoided.
Pros of Solar Thermal
- Solar thermal is a renewable energy gathered from a free resource – the sun. Other than the initial installation cost and maintenance there are no other fees or bills related to this type of energy.
- A key advantage of this technology is reduced heating bills as you will rely less on oil or gas to heat your property.
- Another key benefit is fewer carbon emissions, a reason why this type of technology is so favoured by the Government.
- People who install renewable technologies such as solar thermal may also qualify for the upcoming Renewable Heat Incentive, which sees applicants receive payments in relation to type of green technology they use.
Cons of Solar Thermal
- As solar thermal energy relies on the sun it is not a completely independent system so you will need a boiler or immersion-heater through the winter months to guarantee you have hot water.
- Installing solar panels can be costly. The price is related to the size of system you buy. A typical installation can cost anywhere between £3500 to £6000.