What Can Solar Hot Water Do For Me?

Installing a solar hot water system is a simple upgrade that homeowners can make to protect themselves from rising energy costs.

A solar hot water system can provide between 50-90% of a households annual domestic hot water FREE from the sun making it one of the most effective ways to save money on your energy bill and also reduce your household’s carbon footprint.

In some instances we can use your existing hot water cylinder, in other cases we will install a twin coil cylinder in its place.

There are a number of benefits in using a solar water heating system.

Solar water heating systems, or ‘solar thermal’ systems, use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water. A conventional boiler or immersion heater can be used to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.

 

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.
  • Reduced energy bills. Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced.
  • Lower 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 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.

Is solar water heating right for your home?

Things to consider

  • Do you have a sunny place to put solar panels? You’ll need around five square metres of roof space which faces East to West through South and receives direct sunlight for the main part of the day. The panels don’t have to be mounted on a roof however. They can be fixed to a frame on a flat roof or hang from a wall.

 

  • 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 usually 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, a solar hot water system may not be compatible.

Maintenance

Maintenance costs for solar water heating systems are generally very low.

We recommend that a maintenance plan is taken out at the completion of the installation. This will cover periodic checks on pumps, anti-freeze and general pipework / cylinder connections.