Solar Thermal Hot Water (STHW) uses heat from the sun to heat your hot water and runs alongside your existing water heater. The most common forms in domestic use are flat panels and evacuated tubes. Larger systems can be used for commercial purposes such as heating swimming pools.
How it works
There are two types of solar collector panels commonly in use, flat panels and evacuated tubes.
Flat plate collectors
Domestic hot water
The optimum installation will have a pitch of 30 degrees on a south facing roof. However most roofs facing between east and west will offer a usable contribution to your domestic hot water requirements. Solar collector panels can also be mounted on a frame on the ground or on a flat roof. The area required will depend on the amount of heat required and the type of collector used.
It is likely that for a system to be most effective an upgrade to the hot water tank will be required. A larger hot water tank will be able to store more of the solar energy that is collected and will increase efficiency.
If the building is listed or in a protected area, planning permission may be required.
Solar Thermal Hot Water heating qualifies under the RHI Scheme. Other limited funding may be available for small or large projects, whether domestic or commercial depending on various factors of eligibility.
If you are thinking of investing in renewable energy systems for your home or business, you can find out more about eligibility at: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/