Solar thermal, also known as solar hot water heating systems use solar panels, called collectors, installed onto your roof. These collect heat from the sun and use it to heat up a fluid, which is pumped along pipes to your hot water cylinder, transferring the heat into the water up to a pre-set temperature.
A standard boiler or immersion heater is used as a back-up for the odd day of increased hot water usage or to increase the temperature on very cold winter days.
A solar thermal technology system works most efficiently from March to October reducing the need to switch your boiler on, and in winter the solar thermal panels will reduce your boilers running time. Solar thermal systems require a hot water tank to store hot water for evening use.
A solar thermal system consists of a solar collector, a hot water cylinder, a pump and a controller.
There are two types of solar thermal panel: flat-plate collectors and evacuated-tube collectors.
Evacuated-tube collectors are generally accepted as being the most efficient, reaching the heating temperature quickest and will produce slightly higher yields in autumn and spring.
Flat-plate glazed collectors are more resilient and need very little maintenance. They are generally accepted as being the most aesthetically pleasing option as they can sit level within the roof structure if an 'in roof' system is used, giving the impression of a Velux type window.
The most appropriate hot water cylinder uses a twin coil heating system. The lower coil is heated by the solar panel and the upper coil by a conventional boiler.
The whole system is managed by the controller. It reacts to the temperature of the fluid in the solar collector and the water in the cylinder to automatically determine the rate at which the fluid is pumped around the system.
As with most retrofit energy generation equipment the cost of the system can vary on a number of elements. Principally the overriding factor is the quantity of people the hot water must comfortably provide for, and the resulting quantity of collectors required. The complexity of the plumbing and the suitability of your existing hot water system also have an effect on the final price.
The running cost of the system is extremely low for the hot water yeild it produces, all that is used are a few watts of power to run the circulation pump when the panels are hot and the cylinder is not. When the panels have no power to give the system goes into standby.
RHI - The Renewable Heat Incentive is a government backed scheme which provides a set payment for every kilowatt hour (unit) of renewable heat required to heat and provide hot water into a property. In most cases this is deemed from an Energy Performance Certificate, but under specific circumstances it is metered.
Once the system is installed and registered payments are made quarterly over a period of seven years.
Kingspan Thermomax are global leaders in solar thermal systems offering trusted renewable water heating solutions including evacuated vacuum tube collectors, solar thermal panels, as well as solar cylinders for commercial, industrial and residential use. More: