Solar Thermal

Solar thermal systems are capable of providing up to 60% of the annual hot water requirements in both domestic and commercial applications

What is Solar Thermal?

Solar thermal systems are capable of providing up to 60% of the annual hot water requirements in both domestic and commercial applications. They work by harnessing solar radiation, which is used to efficiently and effectively heat water stored in a cylinder, ready for use whenever required.

Compared to a standard fossil fuel heating system, maintenance and servicing costs are typically lower as there is no need for regular servicing and maintenance is kept to a minimum. In addition to the financial benefits, a solar thermal system will also help reduce the carbon footprints of a property.

During summer systems can provide up to

90% of hot water requirements

How efficient are the panels?

Solar thermal panels do not need direct sunlight – even on a cloudy day panels can heat water in the cylinder up to 50˚C. The efficiency of the solar thermal system is influenced by a number of factors; the size and type of panels, the roof orientation and pitch, and the location of the property.

The number of panels needed is usually based on capacity, the number of occupants, their hot water demand (normally estimated at 45 litres per person) and how much of the demand is to be met by the solar energy.

A well designed system will provide 90% of the hot water requirements during the summer months, falling to around 20% during the winter.

Types of system

There are two types of solar thermal technology currently on offer: flat plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors. Flat plate collectors contain a specially treated absorber plate to maximise solar gain. The collector is glazed with either solar glass or plastic and is highly insulated to minimise heat loss. Flat plate collectors can either be fixed onto roof tiles or integrated into the roof but are less productive than evacuated tube collectors and are therefore generally a cheaper option.

Evacuated tube collectors contain parallel glass tubes each with the absorber plate enclosed. Due to the vacuum insulation inside each glass tube, evacuated collectors can operate at higher temperatures and therefore offer a higher efficiency.

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