Sunshine may be in short supply in the UK, however you can still generate plentiful, free hot water for your home by installing a solar water heating system.
Many people are surprised to learn that solar thermal systems can even help heat water during the winter – the solar collectors work all year round, with your conventional boiler kicking in to give water temperature a boost when needed.
Using the sun’s energy to heat your water not only reduces your carbon dioxide emissions, it also cuts your energy bills, delivering savings of up to 20% depending on the type of system used previously.
How Does It Work?
The flat plate solar collectors are fixed to your roof – you’ll need an area of around 5 sqm in a sunny spot. They can be fixed to the roof tiles on a pitched roof, mounted to a frame on a flat roof or even hung on a wall.
Energy from the sun warms fluid in the solar collectors and when the fluid reaches a useful temperature it is pumped to a coil in the bottom of a solar cylinder. The solar coil heats the cylinder water for domestic use.
If the cylinder’s temperature sensor detects that the solar panel has not collected enough energy to heat the water to its pre-set temperature, it allows the main heat source to top it up (i.e. a boiler). The control panel can be set to optimise efficient use of the solar panel and ensure hot water is available at the times you need it.
The hot water can be used to feed conventional radiators, underfloor heating systems or simply provide you with a relaxing bubble bath!
Air to Water Heat Pump
It’s not only the sun that can provide us with free energy – heat can even be extracted from the air around us. An air to water heat pump absorbs heat from the outside air and uses it to heat water for the home. It can get heat from the air even when the temperature is as low as -15° C!
A correctly specified air to water heat pump can actually offer a full central heating solution, with domestic hot water up to 80°C, and the savings can be significant – up to £1,800 a year if replacing an electric or LPG heating system.
For an even more efficient and economical heating solution we can integrate an air to water heat pump into a solar thermal system, giving you green, clean and free hot water on tap, no matter what the weather.